Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
SCHOOLS have been added to hotels as quarantine centres in Bulawayo after Government deferred their opening indefinitely, to contain Covid-19.
According to a list released by the Ministry of Health and Childcare yesterday, Gifford and Townsend high schools have been included among standby quarantine centres in the city, in case designated hotels and lodges fill up.
Quarantine centres are used to accommodate residents returning from other countries to ensure they are free of the virus before joining their communities.
The returnees are tested for Covid-19 before being readmitted to communities to prevent transmission of imported of cases.
Most of the country’s Covid-19 cases were largely imported before a recent turn of events when the local transmissions surpassed imported cases.
Cabinet last month ordered returnees to be removed from schools as they were preparing for reopening.
Schools were set to open on Tuesday before Government indefinitely deferred their reopening in view of a sudden surge in Covid-19 cases.
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Professor Paul Mavima said the decision to defer the reopening of schools led Government to resolve that returnees should be readmitted at learning institutions.
“We resorted to use schools as quarantine centres when Government indefinitely postponed the reopening of schools. But we will use schools as quarantine centres when we run out of space in alternative quarantine centres. Schools will be used as our last resort because we don’t want to have a situation where Government says schools are reopening and we have to run around looking for new spaces to accommodate returnees,” said Prof Mavima.
He said Government will continue to accommodate returnees in private facilities such as Khumalo Hotel and Standard Hotel in Bulawayo.
Isinga Youth Centre is another quarantine centre for Bulawayo.
Before colleges reopened, returnees were housed at Bulawayo Polytechnic College and United College of Education.
In a statement, the Ministry of Health and Child Care said Elangeni Training Centre will remain the sole isolation centre for Bulawayo.
An isolation centre differs from quarantine centre as it houses Covid-19 positive patients.
Bulawayo acting Provincial Medical Director Dr Welcome Mlilo on Monday said as of Sunday, 59 people were placed in the isolation centre as most of the Covid-19 patients were isolated from home.
The ministry said Thorngrove Infectious Disease Hospital, Ekusileni Medical Centre – both under renovation – and United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) are the Covid-19 treatment facilities for Bulawayo.
UBH started admitting Covid-19 patients following a decision to use the hospital as a temporary Covid-19 hospital pending the completion of renovations at the designated Covid-19 health institutions.
Following the decision to use UBH as a temporary Covid-19 hospital, patients with other ailments are now being served by Mpilo Central Hospital.
The development is aimed at preventing mixing of Covid-19 patients and those that are Covid-19 [email protected]