Monday, 18 May 2020

THREE ESCAPE FROM CHIREDZI QUARANTINE CENTRE

CHIREDZI police have launched a manhunt for three border jumpers who fled from a COVID-19 quarantine centre at Rupangwana four days ago.

The fugitives were part of the 21 people who were intercepted by security agents around Area 18 near Crooks Corner in Malipati, while illegally crossing into the country from South Africa and were taken to the quarantine centre.

They were identified as Simbarashe Magidi from Mutapurwa School under Chief Gudo in Chiredzi, Vakiridzai Mabika of ward 24 also under Chief Gudo, and Isaac Chikamhi from Chenhaka Benzi, Zaka.

Chiredzi district development co-ordinator Lovemore Chisema, who is vice-chairperson of the district COVID-19 taskforce, confirmed the development.

“Yes, I can confirm that three inmates at Rupangwana quarantine centre have escaped and are now on the run.

Police are already on the ground tracking them. We are appealing to members of the public to help with any useful information that can lead to the arrest of the trio,” he said.

Illegal entry points along Chiredzi district’s porous borders with both Mozambique and South Africa continue to derail the country’s efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Border control officers and cross-border truck drivers are reported to be demanding bribes to aid the illegal entries.

Shop operators along the border are also reportedly illegally crossing into neighbouring countries to restock their shops.

Despite various lockdown measures put in place by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19, it is business as usual in the south-eastern town of Masvingo with most sit-in restaurants fully operational.

“On the issue of people being smuggled by truck drivers into the country people should immediately report them so that they can be taken to proper places if need be. I am even surprised how they pass through all security checkpoints along the road. Even shop owners who are going back and forth to South Africa are not allowed to do that,” Chisema said.

South Africa’s COVID-19 cases currently stand at 14 355 with 6 478 recoveries and 261 deaths, while Zimbabwe’s cases has risen to 44 in the past few days with 17 recoveries and four deaths.

Meanwhile, Zambia claims six Zimbabwean truck drivers tested positive for COVID-19 when tested while crossing the Chirundu Border Post from Zimbabwe.

The six were part of 14 new cases recorded in Zambia on Friday.

Zimbabwe’s COVID-19 national response co-ordinator Agnes Mahomva said: “We have very good collaboration with the Zambian government, those who miss screening this side will be picked up in Zambia. We have appropriate quarantine measures for them.”

Zambia, by yesterday had 753 cases, with Chirundu and Nakonde border posts cited as new hotspots. Newsday

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