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Police stop protests at Belvedere teachers college quarantine centre

Zimbabwe returnees from UK
File Picture: Returnees from UK housed at Belvedere Teachers College.

Police were yesterday called in to stop dozens of returnees quarantined at Belvedere Teachers College from protesting over poor living conditions.

When NewsDay arrived at the centre, the protesters were at the gate while a handful of police officers tried to convince them not to protest.

Moments later, a truck with more than 20 riot police officers arrived to quell the protests.

The news crew was blocked from talking to the protesters with officials demanding a letter from the Health Ministry to allow for interviews.

“We have been instructed that no one talks to them without authority from the ministry,” one official said before the news team was ordered to leave.

Some of the protesters could, however, be heard saying it was now even risky for them to remain in quarantine, mixing with others likely to have COVID-19.

The protests come after similar skirmishes at Queen Elizabeth School in Harare and Masvingo Teachers College quarantine centres by returnees demanding to be allowed to go home citing poor living conditions.

Police were again called in to deal with the potentially volatile situation, but the returnees continue to protest demanding an audience with Health minister Obadiah Moyo.

Frustrated with the living conditions and alleged lies from the Department of Social Welfare and government over their long stay, more than 150 people have fled the isolation centres over the last weeks.

Government is battling to stop frustrated Zimbabweans from fleeing quarantine centres, a move that has increased fears of the spread of COVID-19 as the country recorded over 120 cases inside one week to move to 174 up from 56 confirmed cases.

Last week, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said more than 1 000 Zimbabweans coming from cruise ships were in Namibia and on their way to Zimbabwe but said they should not expect five-star treatment.

Some were coming from as far as the United States, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Netherlands and the United Kingdom and most of these countries were seriously affected by COVID-19.

US ambassador to Zimbabwe Brian Nichols and Foreign Affairs minister Sibusiso Moyo after a meeting in Harare yesterday.


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