TEN returnees quarantined at Magamba Training Centre in Mutare on Thursday last week slept in the open for fear of contracting COVID-19 after authorities mixed new returnees with those that had been there for some time.
The returnees chose to sleep in the open because they did not want to be mixed with new arrivals whom they feared were potential coronavirus sources.
The returnees who spoke to TellZim said it was only logical for authorities to release everybody at once as they were failing to properly manage the facility.
Some said they had been detained for over 28 days and were not comfortable that new arrivals were being admitted into the same hostels as themselves.
Farai Makuyana, who is one the returnees quarantined at Magamba, said he felt that the centre had become a new site of possible new coronavirus infections.
“We are living like prisoners because yesterday, we slept outside the hostels for fear of being exposed to possible infection from new arrivals. There are no sanitisers and we are sharing bathrooms and toilets with the new returnees whose samples have not yet been taken for testing.
“We came here on July 10 and we have spent more than 28 days without being given our results yet two PCR [polymerase chain reaction] testing exercises were conducted. Dr Cephas Fonte came on Tuesday with results for nine returnees and promised to return the following day with the other results, but he never came back and is not picking his calls,” Makuyana said.
“We want to be discharged and they must follow World Health Organisation guidelines. We had two weeks without water, no good food, toiletries and sanitisers,” he said.
Last weekend, some returnees staged a hunger strike which forced authorities to partially respond to their concerns.
A returnee who spoke on condition of anonymity said he was happy to reunite with his family after being discharged from the quarantine centre on August 4.
“I am happy to be at home with my family after a long struggle at Magamba where I had very bad experiences. They made fake promises that we they will give us enough food, sanitisers and running water.
“When we got there, we could not even have proper baths because there was no water for over two weeks and we then staged a hunger strike. That is when they started to provide water and sanitisers,” he said.
Another ex-inmate described the quarantine centre as a prison.
“We were 19 and only nine of us were discharged on Tuesday. The other 10 who were part of our group are still at the centre and the doctor is ignoring them,” the ex-inmate said.
In late July, the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society in partnership with the Coca-Cola Foundation donated an assortment of goods to quarantine centres in Manicaland as part of efforts to mitigate the effects of COVID-19.