Zimbabwe fears more infections as 13,500 Zimbabweans return from South Africa

Monday, March 30th, 2020 12:07 |
People walk along a street in Harare, Zimbabwe. Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Friday announced a 21-day national lockdown starting from Monday as part of the measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus. (Xinhua/Zhang Yuliang)


At least 13,500 Zimbabweans have returned home from South Africa fleeing the 21-day COVID-19 lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus, raising fears that new infections could rise, Zimbabwe's Minister of Health and Child Care Obadiah Moyo said on Sunday.

The lockdown in South Africa started on Friday while in Zimbabwe the 21-day-total lockdown begins on Monday.

Addressing the Harare Provincial Joint Operations Command on the government's response to the COVID-19 virus ahead of the lockdown, Moyo said there were fears that the new arrivals from South Africa could lead to a rise in the number of infections if they do not adhere to self-quarantine measures.

"We have suddenly seen a large influx of returning residents through our Beitbridge border post. For instance we were advised that initially there was a group of 500 nationals who came from South Africa, having been returned by the South African government. That group we have recommended that they be put under self-quarantine at controllable venues.

"The second group we also advise that there is 4,000 nationals who were coming through that border. They followed by another group of 9,000 who also came through that border," Moyo said.

Moyo said the 13,500 people was requested for absolute self quarantine and his ministry had advised the responsible authorities to make sure that they are monitored.

The health officials would follow them up at their homes to ensure they self-isolate to curb spreading the disease, Moyo said.

Zimbabwe has so far registered seven confirmed cases of COVID-19 and one death.

The minister said the other six COVID-19 patients were recovering from their homes.

"It is important to note that the majority of COVID-19 cases will have a mild to moderate disease and will recover without being hospitalized. In actual fact that is what we have seen with the current six cases," Moyo said. (Xinhua)

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