The Government of Zimbabwe and partners have been working tirelessly to ensure that residents returning home from various parts of the world are comfortable upon arrival by offering them shelter to isolate and quarantine.
All of Zimbabwe’s borders still remain closed to non-citizens save for essential service providers like haulage trucks carrying cargo.
As a precautionary measure, it is mandatory that any returning resident stays in quarantine for a period of 21 days before they are cleared and have a chance to reconcile with their families.
The government is also releasing people after eight days if one tests negative.
However, after release one has to continue with self-quarantine at home for the remaining days until the mandatory 21 days are over.
Quarantine centres are available for no cost at government designated places while private ones have begun to open up.
In Bulawayo, Harare and other cities and towns, returnees who wish to come and be quarantined at a government facility do not pay anything as the quarantine period is being fully funded by the government.
Returnees mostly from South Africa and Botswana have been living at Elangeni Training Centre, United College of Education and Insinga in Bulawayo while they await tests and clearance from health officials.
In the border town of Beitbridge returnees have been quarantined at the NSSA Beitbridge hotel while in Plumtree they have been staying at Plumtree High School and Allan Redfurn Primary School.
At the quarantine centres, three meals are provided each day for the returnees who are also afforded sanitary facilities.
A number of private quarantine facilities have also been given a nod by government to open up. These accept returnees who have free funds and can pay for isolation in hotels, guest houses and lodges.
The returnees pay for a mandatory eight days. They are able to make enquiries before their arrival in the country via Zimbabwe National Covid Action Trust (ZINCAT) an online platform so that they are guaranteed the private accommodation that they require upon their return.
“The accommodation will have the basic amenities and services you will need during your stay. Please be aware that this may not be of normal lodge standards but will be safe and hygienic, food, water, tea coffee, and basic three meals a day will be provided,” said the team from ZINTAC.
The food from these facilities is served in the individuals’ rooms. Those with special dietary needs are required to make prior arrangements so that their requests are considered well in time.
On average the said private lodges are charging on average US$$100 per day for a minimum of the required eight days.
Private lodges in Bulawayo include Khumalo and Standard Hotel while Harare has Bronte Hotel, York Lodge, Jacarada Gardens, Greystone Lodge and Sandalwood Lodge to name a few.
Extra fees of a visit by a medical doctor will attract a fee but government health officials do visit the designated private lodges and hotels to check on the returnees.
The returnees have been assured that depending on the accommodation of choice, walks in the garden will be guaranteed despite being in quarantine.
The Ministry of Health and Child Care recommends that Rapid Test be conducted on all returnees in private quarantine on the first day of their arrival while a PCR test will be conducted on the eighth day. If negative one can be released to their families and also self- isolate for a further 14 days.
On the 21st day another test will be conducted before one can be completely cleared.
“The Rapid Test costs US$25. A PCR test from Lancet Laboratories will be an out of pocket expense of US$65 and US$5 for the doctor to administer and return it for results. This should allow you to get your results in 24 hours and return home on the ninth day,” according to ZINTAC.
Returning residents must also note that the City of Harare and Bulawayo COVID-19 Rapid Response Teams can administer the tests for no cost.
“We cannot guarantee that this will be turned around less than 48 hours due to the backlog of tests they have. This would require you to remain in quarantine for the extra nights at your expense,” notes ZINTAC.
ZINTAC is in constant consultation with the Ministry of Health and Child Care for support on more quarantine options.
Government also encourages returnees from all over the world to stay in quarantine for the said time period in order to safeguard the lives of the population.