The Zimbabwe government says its COVID-19 quarantine facilities are stretched and returnees are now free to choose places to quarantine, provided they meet the expenses.
Spokesperson Nick Mangwana said on Twitter Wednesday that the country was in a “disaster zone”. “Our citizens are arriving home in large numbers from all ports of entry. We are sorry for inconveniences endured by some,” he said.
“Our facilities are stretched, some may not meet your expectations. We are really trying to make everyone comfortable and safe. We are in a disaster zone,” he said.
Mangwana had earlier said that returnees wishing to pay for their own accommodation would be allowed to do so, provided the places of quarantine were secure.
“The returnees wishing to pay for their own accommodation and upkeep will now be allowed to do so, on condition the place is secure and is subject to inspection by both health and security officials,” he said Tuesday. As of May 11, 3,611 returning residents had been compulsorily quarantined, according to the government.
Mangwana also told national radio on Wednesday that those who escaped from quarantine facilities were breaking the law and would be prosecuted.
As of Tuesday, Zimbabwe had 37 confirmed cases, including four deaths. Twelve of the infected have since recovered.
Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Monica Mutsvangwa said the nation should remain wary of the pandemic, despite the low figures recorded so far.