BY SILAS NKALA
COVID-19 quarantine centres in Beitbridge and Plumtree are reportedly recording 10 cases of the virus per week out of an average 5 000 people who pass through the entry points.
This was disclosed yesterday by Matabeleland South provincial epidemiology and disease control officer Andrew Muza.
He said among the 5 000 people that pass through the two borders weekly, some of them end up being quarantined due to lack of COVID-19 certificates.
Matabeleland South province is the transit zone for citizens travelling between Zimbabwe, South Africa and Botswana.
“The province is implementing surveillance systems with guidance from the national strategy and World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines. Everyone who is coming into the country through our ports of entry is required to produce a valid COVID-19 result. Individuals who do not have such documents are put into quarantine and are tested at the ports of entry,” Muza said.
“We receive an average of 5 000 people who pass through our two borders in a week. These include deportees, returnees, visitors, drivers in transit to other countries. These are managed according to their profiles and COVID-19 status. We have a routine surveillance system for monitoring the strains that we have in the country.”
He added: “We haven’t had any results for the new strains that have been identified in India. Our quarantine centres in Beitbridge and Plumtree are functional and we see an average of 10 positive cases from these centres on a weekly basis. Most of these are Zimbabweans that are returnees or deportees.
“The centres are currently able to absorb the patients that are coming in. While we have new variants of the COVID-19 virus that are coming up, the standard prevention measures remain valid. People still need to maintain social distance, wear face masks, wash hands or sanitise hands frequently, and avoid unnecessary travels.”
Muza said since the third wave of COVID-19 had been reported in neighbouring countries and there was panic that it could spread during winter, there was need for extra vigilance.
Last month, Muza disclosed that government was in the process of constructing COVID-19 treatment centres in three Matabeleland South districts which are transit zones for crossborder travellers.
These include Beitbridge, Gwanda and Plumtree. He said they would cater for critically-ill patients.
“Every district has a rapid response team which can be called in to assess any suspected COVID-19 case,” he said.