By Nyore Madzianike,
GOVERNMENT will soon publish names of people absconding from quarantine centres as part of measures to warn communities of potential risks within their midst.
A total of 149 returnees have so far escaped from quarantine centres, although some have been apprehended and charged.
Speaking last night during the media briefing on the National Taskforce on Covid-19 Taskforce, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said manpower had been increased at quarantine centres to curb such incidents.
She also said law enforcers had reinforced their operations to encourage adherence to lockdown measures.
“Government wishes to remind the nation that we are still under lockdown.
“We need to de-congest our public places by only going out when it is absolutely necessary. In the same vein, Government thanks all communities that have taken it upon themselves to report those who abscond from quarantine centres and those who illegally enter the country.
“The importance of the posed risk by border jumpers and quarantine absconders cannot be overstated. Going forward, persons who abscond from quarantine centres will have their details published so that communities are aware of the potential risks in their midst,” she said.
Minister Mutsvagwa also said the Government would be amending standard operating procedures at quarantine centres.
She said that there would be systematic testing of all customs and immigration officers, as well as port health personnel to check and minimise transmission of the virus.
“To enhance prevention, all ports of entry and personnel therein are urged to strengthen prevention and control measures through social distancing, sanitising and temperature checks,” she said.
Minister Mutsvanga announced that 3 700 health posts, which were unfrozen had been filled with 178 personnel requested from the Health Services Board to add staff in quarantine facilities and at ports of entry.
“The taskforce was informed that private insurance companies had registered 8 000 health workers for six months free life insurance.
“After the six months, the health workers have an option for further self-engagements.
“The taskforce appreciates the approval by Cabinet of risk allowances for village health workers and every frontline worker,” she said.
Minister Mutsvangwa said members of the national taskforce travelled to the provinces and inspected progress on the setting up of isolation, quarantine and alternative quarantine facilities.
Further, Minister Mutsvangwa said: “The decommissioning of schools as quarantine centres in preparation for their eventual re-opening is progressing in earnest. All provinces have identified alternative quarantine centres.”