Community members in Zaka, Bikita and Gutu have expressed concern over the laxity of security measures at quarantine centres in Masvingo. The call comes after reports that returnees from neighbouring countries such as South and Botswana are escaping from quarantine centres in Masvingo.
This came out during Heal Zimbabwe Community Virtual Information centre discussions with community members from Zaka, Bikita and Gutu. Community members noted that the spike in COVID 19 cases was also necessitated by returnees hence the need for responsible authorities to enforce strictness at these centres and limit their movements. “We are worried that with limited security at quarantine centres, some returnees are choosing to escape to rural areas like Zaka to evade the authorities. In our communities there are no screening mechanisms for new people who come in. This presents a great risk of contracting COVID 19 for ordinary community members “said one local leader from Zaka.
Community members also expressed concern over reports that some police officers manning roadblocks leading to Masvingo town are taking bribing and allowing easy access for people who have not been tested into rural areas. Community members also highlighted that they have also recorded an increase in the number of returnees at most business centres where even social distancing or wearing of masks is not being even observed. In most instances, some people are bribing law enforcement agents to gain entry and access to some public places without any masks. As part of the way forward community members resolved to engage local leaders such as Councillors, District Administrators and Legislators over the issue.
The virtual Information centres by Heal Zimbabwe are an initiative meant to equip communities with relevant information on Covid 19, facilitate local level conversations on pertinent issues affecting communities as well as create socially cohesive communities.