Returnees should play ball in quarantine

21 Jun, 2020 - 00:06 0 Views
Returnees should play ball in quarantine

The Sunday Mail

Returnees from the Diaspora have much to gain by adhering to quarantine regulations and should thus desist from the reckless behaviour that many of them have demonstrated over the last few weeks.

Reports of some of them escaping from quarantine centres and others ingesting hand sanitisers because of the high alcohol content in it “to reduce boredom at the centres” are not only sad, but demonstrate a high degree of irresponsible traits that will only prove detrimental if not curbed.

The fact that many of the returnees have tested positive and account for the bulk of infections in this country compounds the situation.

So far, more than 175 returnees have escaped from quarantine centres dotted across the country while others are said to be sneaking into Zimbabwe via illegal crossing points and heading straight to their families without being tested.

This is dangerous, if not suicidal.

Strict adherence to Covid-19 hygiene and other measures will ensure the number of infections is managed in the interim, as scientists work flat out to find a cure for the deadly disease that has so far claimed close to half a million people worldwide.

Therefore, placing returnees in quarantine facilities also helps combat the spread while giving due attention to those that may be infected and requiring medical attention.

Armed with this knowledge, it boggles the mind that we still find many that are playing cat-and-mouse games with the police, in the process spreading the disease. They behave as if they are oblivious of the effects of their actions and yet they are fully aware of the potential devastation.

As of Friday, Zimbabwe had recorded 479 confirmed cases, the bulk of which are largely accounted for  by returnees from South Africa.  Others have come from Botswana, Mozambique, Zambia and a few other regional countries.

Quarantine facilities have been created to ensure that returnees are monitored and tested for Covid-19 for a mandatory 21 days before they are released. Those that are tested on day one and day eight and are found to be clean are allowed to go home.

However, the returnees have found this uncomfortable and some have escaped. Government has so far spent more than $20 million in establishing the centres and ensuring hygienic conditions are maintained while at least three meals a day are provided.

Although some have complained that the living conditions are not to their expectations, others have confessed that they just do not want to be isolated from their families regardless of the dangers this poses.

This is as unfortunate as it is dangerous and those caught escaping should face the full wrath of the law. While quarantine centres are not the best places to be, particularly for returnees who will be so near and yet so far away from their families, it is actually for their good and that of their families and society in general that they be quarantined while tests are being conducted and medication administered to deal with the pandemic.

The period under quarantine is quite short when compared to the consequences of spreading the disease in the communities. We do not want to lose lives unnecessarily hence we implore returnees to behave responsibly and endure the mandatory quarantine process.

In our Society section we carry a story in which a number of returnees are escaping to illegal lodges that do not even practice the basic hygiene required to minimise the contagion effect of the disease.

Investigations by this paper have established that indeed quite a number of lodges in the city centre and on the outskirts of the Central Business District are taking in returnees for about US$10 a night.

These do not even offer hand sanitisers nor do they disinfect their facilities, insisting the returnees themselves should bring their own PPEs.

This is pure gambling with lives. We do not have to overwhelm our health facilities with people who should know better. Although the survival rate from Covid-19 is quite high, it would be most unfortunate were people to die because someone somewhere failed to adhere to the basics.

It would be a sad day for our country were we to suddenly experience a huge jump in infections because of the actions or inactions of some members of our society. It is incumbent upon neighbours and members of society to report any cases of people from the Diaspora that they suddenly find among them.

All efforts should be collectively directed towards reducing the rate of infection that seems to be rising over the past few weeks. It is important to practice social distancing, wearing of masks and sanitising hands, among other efforts to control infections.

We also implore the Government to ensure that those in quarantine centres are tested on time so that they do not have to overstay as has been reported in some instances.

Covid-19 is a disease we must conquer.

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