Thousands of Zimbabweans head home
Harare (New Ziana)- Zimbabweans outside the country are welcome back home despite the risk of Covid-19, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Thursday.
Speaking at State House where he received various donations towards the country’s Covid-19 response, President Mnangagwa said returning citizens are however expected to adhere to 21- day quarantine regulations.
“I was told yesterday that we have over 1 000 Zimbabweans who were in cruise ships in Iceland and everywhere you can think of; are docked in Namibia to be sent back here. But because they are Zimbabweans, they are our people, they are our citizens. We need to receive them.
“We need that when they come back home, they should adhere to the regulations, the processes and the guidelines as provided by World Health Organisation.
“When they come in through the Ministry of Health, we are told that on the first day they get tested (for Covid-19), on the 8th day they get tested and on the 21st day they get tested,” he said.
Zimbabwe has to date recorded 132 confirmed cases of Covid-19 with the majority of the infections coming from returning citizens.
The President expressed displeasure at returnees who are reportedly absconding from quarantine facilities.
“Of course we do our best as government to provide reasonable conditions for their stay but we can never create five star conditions for them. It’s not possible.
“They should be able to understand that they should be cleared in order to go back in communities when they are free from infections,” he said adding Zimbabwe had no plans to relax quarantine regulations.
“On those guidelines we will not relax, we will continue to enforce them rigorously so that we limit internal transmissions,” he added.
He said government was aware that citizens were dying from Covid-19 from countries like the United Kingdom.
“Any of our citizens outside the country, if they want to come home, we welcome them because they are out citizens,” he said.
With regards to the re-opening of schools and universities, President Mnangagwa said priority was on saving the lives of learners.
“I have been criticised for closing schools- that I am killing a generation of children by closing schools. I am not so sure whether a parent will be happy to send one’s child to school and come back with Covid19 or choose a situation where school is closed for a while and the child goes back to school when the situation is correct and still survive. As a parent myself I choose the second.
“We have stakeholders in the education sector sit down and proffer their advice in that area. But at the end of the day I will be guided by a situation that protects the lives of our children and not expose them to Covid-19 infection,” he said.
Turning to the donations which included an ambulance, money, foodstuffs and hospital consumables, President Mnangagwa said he was overwhelmed by the contributions from local companies.
“I am happy that despite the challenges we face; upon our appeal, the response has been overwhelming. I am very grateful,” said the President.