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Soldiers, police set camp at restive quarantine centre

Securitu forces a keeping a close eye on the quarantine centre

…as tensions rise over
delayed results, corruption

TellZim Reporter

MASVINGO

Soldiers and riot police are now a constant sight at Masvingo Teachers’ College
quarantine centre as a response to the increasing restlessness among people who
are being kept there.

On May 29, tensions
boiled over and a nurse was held hostage for several hours after authorities
had released only 33 people whose Covid-19 test results had come out negative.

The rest of the people
demanded their own results and blocked the nurse who had been sent to call the
names from leaving.

The previous day,
inmates had blocked a Health ministry vehicle from leaving, alleging that
authorities were corruptly facilitating the release of results of people who
came to the centre later while sidelining those who have spent over 21 days
there.

They complain their
continued detention exposes them to even greater risk of catching coronavirus,
saying the centre is the source of at least 12 of the 25 new cases recorded in
Masvingo province last week.

They say there are good
grounds to believe most of those who tested positive were negative when they
got admitted, but contracted the virus at the centre.

“The place is
poorly-managed; almost 300 of us go to the dining hall at the same time and up
to 15 people share a bucket in the bathroom. Meanwhile police officers are
making money here by selling food items and cigarettes to some inmates,” said a
source.

Many people who are
kept there have spent more than the mandatory 21 days of quarantine as they
have not yet received test results.

No official comment
could be obtained because Provincial Medical Director (PMD) Amadeus Shamu
hardly answers calls from journalists nowadays and if he does, he gives the
same lame excuse of being ‘in a meeting’ over and over again.

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