BY SILAS NKALA
Plumtree is witnessing an influx of Zimbabwean immigrants returning home amid fears that quarantine facilities for returnees might soon be overwhelmed.
The Zimbabwe Christian Alliance (ZCA), which is partnering with the government and the UKAid to refurbish quarantine facilities at border areas such as Beitbridge and Plumtree, said there was need to channel more resources towards refurbishment of former holding facilities.
ZCA executive director Useni Sibanda said they have witnessed high numbers of people coming through Plumtree.
Sibanda said there was a shortage of facilities in Matabeleland South close to the border to cater for the needs of returnees that have to be kept in isolation to curb the spread of Covid-19.
He said the facilities at Beitbridge were in a fair condition; hence returnees are not tempted to run away before their isolation time lapses.
“We are in discussion on facilities nearer to Plumtree that we can assist set up, and also to see how we can continue supporting the Beitbridge one,” he said.
“ We are also engaging our donors to make sure that the resources are available.
ZCA through funding from UKAid refurbished the Beitbridge and Plumtree quarantine and isolation facilities at a total cost of over US$80 000.
Matabeleland South provincial epidemiology and disease control officer, Andrew Muza confirmed the influx of returning citizens through the Plumtree border adding that due to limited facilities, some were being sent to Gwanda quarantine centres.
“Generally Covid-19 cases have gone up in the province and isolation facilities cannot hold all cases,” Muza said without divulging figures.
“Stable patients who have a suitable home environment can isolate at home.
“Plumtree is not spared in this situation.
“In Plumtree there is no quarantine facility so negative contacts who need quarantine are the ones who are moved to Gwanda.
“This is an arrangement that has been in existence even in the second wave of Covid- 19.
“All positive patients are at Plumtree isolation centre and they have not been moved elsewhere.
“In terms of the influx of deportees, these are Zimbabweans, who are coming back home and we cannot stop them.
“Our role is to screen and identify infected persons and manage the cases.”
Muza said all isolation centres were located at health facilities that were vaccination centres.
He said vaccines were administered to clients that have no underlying conditions including current infections.