About 400 people have escaped from a coronavirus isolation center in Malawi, increasing the risk of spreading the virus in the country.
A man, who fled the center at Kamuzu Stadium, told the dpa news agency on Thursday that the people were escaping due to a lack of sanitation and clean toilets. People have been held at the stadium for more than 24 hours without access to food or water, said the man, who wanted to remain anonymous.
The government has requested Malawians, who have recently returned from neighboring countries, to be tested at the stadium for Covid-19, Dr. Blantyre district surgeon John Kawalazira said at a press conference. All but three borders are closed to allow the transport of essential goods and services.
National Police spokesman James Kadadzera said officers are investigating the incident.
At least 108 cases of Covid-19 and four deaths have been reported in the country so far.
Zimbabwe police spokesman Paul Nyathi said officers were also looking for more than 100 people who had escaped from isolation centers. A quarantine period of 21 days is compulsory for anyone returning from other countries.
“They escape and flee into the villages. We warn people not to provide shelter to them. These people are a serious danger to communities, ”Nyathi said.
About 75 of the new cases reported in Zimbabwe this week were in centers where hundreds were detained returning from South Africa and Botswana.
Minister Monica Mutsvangwa told reporters on Wednesday that the government is tightening security at schools, colleges and hotels used as quarantine facilities. However, government spokesman Nick Mangwana said security officers at the centers, which are protected by high walls and blade wire, are believed to receive bribes from people who want to leave the center earlier.