The Matabeleland North Covid-19 Taskforce has turned Phezulu Lodge in Victoria Falls town into an alternative quarantine centre for returning citizens who do not want to be accommodated at Mosi-oa-Tunya High School.
This comes amid concerns by some returnees over unfavourable living conditions including food shortages at the provincial centre.
The taskforce opened Mosi-oa-Tunya centre as the provincial quarantine facility before opening alternative facilities at Lupane State University and Mabhikwa High School both in Lupane.
This week, a lodge was identified to cater for those who do not want to mix with others at Mosi-oa-Tunya and can afford to pay for a private place.
Two returnees, both white, have since been housed at the lodge in the resort town.
“Phezulu Lodge has been opened for returnees paying for themselves. Today (Friday), two male returnees were taken to the lodge.
“One was transferred from Mosi-oa-Tunya while the other one recently returned into the country,” said the social welfare department in a daily update on Covid-19 quarantine centres in the province.
It could not be established how much the returnees are paying at the lodge.
One of the white men returned from South Africa while the other came from Cameroon.
The social welfare department said Mosi-oa-Tunya had, however, decongested after transferring 88 returnees to Lupane and others to their respective provinces across the country.
There were no discharges this week as the centre is waiting for PCR results from Bulawayo.
The facility had, until this week, exceeded its carrying capacity of 100 people as it had more than 140 at one point.
“The cumulative total of returnees that have been received since the inception of the centre now stands at 278 with 142 being males and 135 females. The current enrolment now stands at 72 being 35 males and 37 females, and three are minor children. A total of 56 have been discharged so far,” the department said.
Namibia leads the pack of returnees with 128, followed by Botswana with 102, Zambia with 42 while Cameroon and South Africa each have three.
The social welfare department is appealing for food especially for breakfast, toiletries, sanitary wear, detergents, blankets and fuel.