Mostly SA returnees escalate Zimbabwe COVID-19

Beitbridge Border-post

from MARCUS MUSHONGA in Harare, Zimbabwe 
HARARE – MORE than 450 Zimbabweans returning home, mainly from South Africa, have tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19).

The positive tests have escalated Zimbabwe’s COVID-19 caseload to 942 as of this past weekend.

Around 10 800 migrants have returned from neighbouring countries.

More than half the number have returned from South Africa (5 318) via the Beitbridge border post.

More than 2 700 have crossed from Botswana. Over 1 300 have landed at the Robert Mugabe International Airport and 646 others crossed from Mozambique.

The returnees include 196 children.

United Nations’ Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) reported the number continues to increase daily, with a projection of 20 000 new arrivals in the next coming months.

This includes Zimbabweans returning from northern countries such as Ethiopia, Malawi, Tanzania and neighbouring Zambia.

Returning residents and foreign nationals are required to quarantine for a period of 21 days, of which the initial seven days are at government-designated centres.

Over 1 300 are quarantined in 44 centres operated by the government.

Zimbabwe’s COVID-19 cases have doubled over the past fortnight. This includes 13 deaths.

Of the confirmed cases, 61 percent are female and 39 percent male.

A majority, 89 percent, are asymptomatic.

The capital Harare is the epicentre with 33 percent of the cases.

COVID-19 is worsening an already crumbling Zimbabwe health sector.

UN requires US$84,9 million (R1,4 billion) to respond to the virus pandemic.

This is in addition to $715 million (about R12 billion) for the 2020 Zimbabwe Humanitarian Response Plan announced in April.

– CAJ News

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