241 Zimbabwean returnees from the US, quarantined

A health worker checks the temperature of a traveller as part of the coronavirus screening procedure at the Kotoka International Airport in Accra, Ghana January 30, 2020. REUTERS/Francis Kokoroko/File Photo

A TOTAL of 241 citizens who are employed by an American cruise ship have returned back in the country and have been accommodated at a Harare hotel where they will be quarantined.

The developments come as the country’s COVID-19 confirmed positive cases are now at 391 following four cases that were confirmed positive this Tuesday.

The cases are all returnees from South Africa and are all under isolation.

The 241 returning citizens are employed by an American cruise ship company called the Norwegian. The returnees comprising mostly young men and women flew into Harare from the United States of America where they had assembled.

Some of the returning residents who spoke to this news crew off camera said they were not tested for COVID-19 prior to their departure.

The Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care, John Mangwiro who was at the Robert Mugabe International airport to meet the group and oversee the clearing processes said COVID-19 testing on the returnees will commence this Tuesday evening with results expected by end of day this Wednesday.

The returnees were taken from the airport in buses after special clearance procedures were conducted.

While the World Health Organization had classified coronavirus transmission in Zimbabwe as sporadic with no discernible clusters, the majority of positive cases have been recorded amongst returnees.

The last two months have seen an increase in the number of returning citizens coming from South Africa, Botswana and Mozambique with Zimbabwean embassies in different countries facilitating the acquisition of necessary travel permits.

All returning citizens and residents have to undergo quarantine and testing measures recommended by the World Health Organisation before they finally join their families.

Since the first case of coronavirus was confirmed in Zimbabwe on the 20th of March this year, 62 recoveries have been recorded while four succumbed to the deadly virus.