Harare tops in COVID-19 cases as returnees the most infected

By Xinhua

HARARE is leading in the number of COVID-19 positive cases with 59 confirmed, followed by Masvingo Province with 25, with the latest spike causing many people to panic.

So far, returning residents have been the major source of positive results with 75 of the 76 samples which were tested between May 23-25 being mainly for returnees from South Africa and Botswana.

Reported COVID-19 positive cases spiked from 56 to 132 on Wednesday, with most of them happening in quarantine centers and raising fears of possible internal infections there.

Matabeleland South Province comes third with 16 cases while the country’s second city of Bulawayo ranks fourth with 15.

With most of the positive cases reported in quarantine centers, some people are worried that some returnees are escaping from there before the mandatory quarantine period and prior to knowing their statuses.

On Wednesday, the Member of Parliament for Gweru Urban Constituency Brian Dube warned the city’s residents to be cautious after 18 people escaped from a teachers’ college the same day, taking a baby with them.

More than 120 people have escaped from quarantine facilities throughout the country in recent days despite warnings from the police that it is a crime to do so.

Health authorities had by Wednesday done 38,656 tests, of which 103 cases are still active, 25 have recovered and four have died.

Only two of the country’s 10 administrative provinces – Manicaland and Mashonaland Central – are yet to record any COVID-19 positive cases.

The spike in the number of positive cases comes as the government has allowed universities to re-open on June 1 with final year students only – before primary and secondary schools follow suit.

Minister of Primary and Secondary Education Cain Mathema indicated recently that schools would re-open around mid-June and that the government would hire 6,000 teachers as part of a comprehensive plan for their safe and smooth re-opening.

However, some teachers’ unions have expressed reservations on the re-opening of schools arguing that the environment is not yet conducive for such a move.

Even some parents are not sure if they should allow their children to return to school before they are sure that the environment is safe.