Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) and the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) representatives have expressed concern over the state of affairs at some quarantine centres in the country.
Superintendent Batsirai Mungwa, who is responsible for police operations in Matabeleland South province, told a Matabeleland South provincial Covid-19 taskforce committee meeting on Wednesday that there is a need to beef up security at the centres. He said:
There is a huge challenge when it comes to quarantine centres in the province as some don’t have proper security systems such as locks on the doors and perimeter fences.
For example, Pangani Training Centre in Filabusi doesn’t have a perimeter fence which means that those under quarantine can have contact with the community.
The loopholes in the security system allow returnees to escape. A day ago, two fled from Pangani Training Centre. There is a need for the department responsible to look into upgrading the security systems as soon as possible.
Lieutenant Melissa Mandudye from the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) revealed that military personnel do not have adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) yet they are tasked with dealing with some people infected by the novel coronavirus. She said:
Our officers who are stationed at quarantine centres have a challenge as they don’t have the necessary protective clothing.
They are only operating with masks and sanitisers yet they have to monitor and supervise people that are Covid-19 positive which then puts them at risk.
Only workers from the Ministry of Health and Child Care are being catered for when it comes to the provision of PPE.
For example, if an officer comes across a Covid-19 patient attempting to escape and confronts him or her, the individual just threatens to cough on the officer and the officer immediately stops advancing.
There is therefore urgent need to equip all those working at quarantine centres with adequate PPE to enable them to effectively carry out their duties.