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3 000 more returnees next week, says Muchinguri

by Staff reporter
28 May 2020 at 07:57hrs | Views
DEFENCE minister Oppah Muchinguri yesterday told Parliament that more than 3 000 more returnees were expected into the country next week from neighbouring countries and abroad at a time when government is incapacitated to deal with this influx.

She said government was working together with churches to ensure that the returnees are placed on quarantine.

Muchinguri, who is the national COVID 19 taskforce deputy chairperson, was responding to questions from legislators in the National Assembly who wanted to know how prepared government was ahead of the opening of schools. Universities, colleges and schools have been operating as quarantine centres, but President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced that examination classes should open in four week's time.

"We have been receiving an influx of returnees from South Africa and Botswana, hence they are putting pressure on our systems and at times we find ourselves incapacitated. The Labour minister has to identify additional centres to ensure some of those challenges are addressed," Muchinguri said.

"Next week, we expect 3 000 returnees – not just from neighbouring countries, but even beyond," Muchinguri said.

"We are aware that the President has made an announcement on the opening of schools and in terms of where we want to place our returnees, churches have pledged their support."

She said government was making sure schools have enough personal protective equipment and sanitisers for teachers and learners.

"Yes, we are falling short in other areas, but universities have taken a leading role in producing enough masks and sanitisers to ensure there are adequate resources.

"However, test kits remain of concern because there is competition internationally, but government has gone out to ensure they are available," she said.

Higher Education minister Amon Murwira was also asked by Glen View South MP Vincent Tsvangirai (MDC Alliance) to explain if government will provide masks and sanitisers for students who will sit for examinations.

Tsvangirai was one of the four opposition MPs who attended Parliament yesterday, while the rest of the MDC Alliance MPs boycotted.

Murwira said universities were ready and would start examinations in June, adding that by July all final year students would have written their examinations.

"First year, second year and third year students will come in turns for two weeks to write examinations. We will be carefully assessing as we go because education is done by living people. If the reality on the ground is not safe we will have to adjust," he said.

Source - newsday

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