BY Brenna Matendere GWERU’S Mkoba residents have expressed concern over the location of a COVID-19 quarantine centre at the heart of the densely populated suburb. The complaint came after it was revealed that relatives of those in the isolation centre where making frequent visits to the place and freely mingling with society afterwards. Speaking during the Zimbabwe Coalition of Debt and Development (Zimodd) meeting held via Zoom yesterday, Gweru Residents and Ratepayers Association director Cornelia Selipiwe underscored the need for urgent security upgrades at Mkoba 2 Clinic, which was recently changed to a COVID-19 quarantine centre. “As residents, we are concerned by the decision to turn Mkoba 2 Clinic into a quarantine centre because it is located near residential houses in Mkoba 2, where people usually pass by,” Selipiwe said. “The clinic is not protected by a precast security wall, which means that those in quarantine can easily escape from the facility and join other people, risking spreading the virus. “We have experienced some similar cases, where people on quarantine escaped and up to now, we don’t know whether they were found or not. “We, therefore, call upon authorities to relocate the centre as it is posing a serious health risk to residents.” Selipiwe also highlighted how the recycling of masks from dumpsites could lead to the rise of COVID-19 cases in Gweru. She said the city council should relocate the Woodlands dumpsite. “Children from Woodlands are reportedly picking masks from the nearby dumpsite and then reuse them, exposing themselves to COVID-19,” he said. Gweru mayor Josiah Makombe yesterday said council would look into the concerns raised by residents and would engage the Health ministry on the way forward. “The relocation of the quarantine centre will need final approval from the Health ministry because they are in charge of the institution after taking it over from council when COVID-19 hit. We are, however, going to present to them the concerns of the residents,” he said. As of Thursday, Zimbabwe had recorded 4 990 COVID-19 cases, and 128 deaths. “Currently, council is scrounging for resources to relocate the Woodlands dumpsite, but we are not in a position to make a definite timeline of the process. We are aware of affected residents there and council is working flat out to resolve the matter.” Residents also expressed disgruntlement over water issues, as some areas are going for 21 days without water. “We are told to wash our hands for about 30 seconds with running water, but the most painful thing is that we are going for more than three weeks without running water. “Messages are sent to residents groups where city council officials are present, but we are getting no assistance,” a resident, who requested anonymity, said.