Thupeyo Muleya, Beitbridge Bureau

 The Deputy Minister of Labour, Public Service and Social Welfare, Lovemore Matuke said on Friday that the Government will now use public service and the District Development Fund infrastructure to quarantine at least 3000 returnees from South Africa.

He said initially they had opted to use learning facilities, but have now come up with an alternative since it is not yet clear when schools will open.

The Deputy Minister made the remarks while accompanying Vice President Kembo Mohadi who toured the quarantine and isolation centres and the Dulivhadzimu Bulky Vegetable market in Beitbridge to check for conformity with standard health guidelines.

He said they had also engaged public transport utility company, Zupco to ferry the returnees from various ports of entries to their respective homes upon completion of the mandatory quarantining and testing processes.

“We are here in Beitbridge today to assess and make logistical arrangements for an estimated 3000 Zimbabweans we expect to arrive from South Africa soon,” said Deputy Minister Matuke.

“We have put in place a comprehensive strategy to make sure that these are screened upon arrival and taken to various provincial centres in Zupco buses.

“Already the Provincial task force teams have been upraised and are seized with preparations to accommodate them.

“At the moment I cannot tell the numbers of who and how many will go to which province. We will only know upon screening and we are ready to roll”.

He added; “We are now looking for alternative centres which do not disturb children since we are not sure of when schools will be opened”.

Mr Matuke said those who would have completed mandatory quarantining will be transported to their homes in Zupco buses, while those with means to find their way will be given transport money.

He said, in addition, all those coming out of quarantine will receive out of pocket allowances.

“We have devised a system where we are in a position to know when they will be coming out of quarantine and to that end, there will be transport ready to take them home.

“So far we are still engaging the South Africans to finalise formalities to bring our citizens home and are expecting the first group to arrive anytime next week,” said the Deputy Minister.

He said the Beitbridge quarantine centre has the capacity to carry only 280 people and that presently they are 57 returnees.

In addition, the Deputy Minister said the facility had a COVID-19 clinic and an isolation centre to accommodate 70 people.