Two Covid-19 Positive Malawians Escape From Beitbridge Quarantine Centre
21 May 2020
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State Media|Two Malawian border jumpers who tested positive to Covid-19 during profiling and screening at the Beitbridge Quarantine and Isolation Centre located at the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) Hotel escaped yesterday.

One of the escapees was intercepted by security agents as he sought transport to Malawi at the closed Dulivadzimu long-distance bus terminus.

His accomplice was by last night still unaccounted for with police descending on all trucks leaving and entering Beitbridge. The development came barely 24 hours after 19 people escaped on Monday night. To date, 29 people have escaped since the centre opened for operations.

The two are part of 41 Malawians who were intercepted by security agents on patrol after skipping the border from South Africa. The group was intercepted while seeking transport to Malawi at a local truck stop.

After interception they were taken for profiling and screening where seven men and one woman tested positive and were put into isolation. The woman has a minor child who tested negative and the immigrants were put into isolation pending further PCR tests, while 32 were transferred to Harare pending repatriation to Malawi.

Police officer commanding Beitbridge District (Dispol), Chief Superintendent Tichaona Nyongo said they had beefed up security at the isolation centre and around the main quarantine centre.

“We have beefed security in all aspects and we are not taking lightly to those seeking to compromise public health,” he said. “Indications are that most of those who e cape from quarantine use long-distance trucks to travel to their destinations.

“Starting from tonight (last night), we are clamping down on all truckers who carry people without movement permits. We are going to be having a number of roadblocks to enforce compliance on all north or southbound trucks.

Said Chief Supt Nyongo: “We have put security at the isolation centre and on the parameter of the main quarantine centre and are being assisted by the Zimbabwe National Army, the Support Unit and the Duty Uniform Branch (DUB)”.

The Director of Social Welfare in the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Mr Totamirepi Tirivavi said they were working with the Malawian Embassy to repatriate the 32 migrants who have been moved from Beitbridge.

In a related development, over 2 000 Zimbabweans have passed through the Beitbridge quarantine centre in the last two weeks, most of whom have been moved to quarantine centres closer to their final destinations.

The Beitbridge centre can carry 280 people on quarantine and 70 on isolation but the Government has set the maximum at 150. By last night, the place had 60 people housed in one wing of the hotel to tighten security.