Panic has gripped the city of Masvingo and the entire province, as it emerged that 12 returnees quarantined at Masvingo Teachers College tested positive to Covid-19 according to Polymerase Chain Reaction results released on Saturday. However, Government officials are still mum over the development and the 12 are still at the quarantine centre despite the confirmation of the results. So far Harare province is leading in the number of COVID-19 positive cases with 59 confirmed, followed by Masvingo Province with 25, with the latest spike causing many people to panic. So far, returning residents have been the major source of positive results with 75 of the 76 samples, which were tested between May 23-25 being mainly for returnees from South Africa and Botswana. Reported COVID-19 positive cases spiked from 56 to 132 on Wednesday, with most of them happening in quarantine centers and raising fears of possible internal infections there.

Quarantined people at Masvingo Teacher’s College today around 3pm were blocking a Health ministry vehicle from leaving the premises. They are protesting their continued detention, saying they must be released immediately as their 21 days are up. 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 yesterday. 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 people go to the dining hall at the same time & up to 15 people share a bucket in the bathroom

Corruption at Masvingo Polytechnic College, Covid-19 quarantine centres has reached alarming levels with officers from the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) and ZRP now selling beer and cigarettes to inmates against the dictates of the lockdown measures. A source at the Masvingo Polytechnic quarantine centre alluded that the officers are making money as they are selling the goods in foreign currency because the inmates are not allowed to go out of the premises to buy anything as they are under mandatory quarantine for 21 days. Since Thursday last week security officers have been selling Super beer from 4pm until 7pm to the inmates at 100Rand each. The informant also alluded that people are visiting their relatives who are quarantined at Masvingo Poly during the day after paying officers on duty against the isolation measures. Many times the returnees receive visitors and they say they have permission from the social welfare officials to get goods from their relatives. They bring peanut butter, maputi, clothes and cerevita among other items,” said the informant.

About MACRAD

Masvingo Centre for Research Advocacy and Development (MACRAD) Trust is an independent Zimbabwean Community Based Civil Society institution committed to the development of socio-economic rights and agrarian systems that enhance equitable land rights and sustainable land uses throughout Zimbabwe. MACRAD interacts with various organizations and communities to assist them in developing capacity for policy formulation and research. It also facilitates policy dialogue among communities, governments, academics, civil society and others on land and agrarian development, especially the land rights of marginalized social groups. Masvingo Center for Research Advocacy and Community Development (MACRAD) is driven by a desire to contribute towards improved rural livelihoods that should lead to greater capacities for the rural poor to determine their own destinies and contribute towards national development. MACRAD has worked with citizens in resettlements areas around Masvingo Province on civic and voter education to ensure their voices are heard. MACRAD’s approach entails encouraging continuous policy debates and refinement of policy. This is achieved through generation and provision of research based information, platforms for dialogue, creating and nurturing a policy community in Zimbabwe. The ambition of Masvingo Center for Research Advocacy and Community Development (MACRAD) is to provide leadership in socio-economic justice and land-agrarian policy processes, to become a Centre of Excellence and remain an independent and credible center for knowledge on social and economic justice.

Source: Masvingo Centre for Research Advocacy and Development (MACRAD) Trust