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Zimbabwe mulls re-opening hotels as coronavirus isolation hubs

A number of chains have closed their hotels countrywide as tourist arrivals have plummeted in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

FILE: A signboard in Harare, Zimbabwe. Picture: Masechaba Sefularo/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG – The Zimbabwean government on Wednesday said it may re-open some hotels as COVID-19 isolation centres.

A number of chains have closed their hotels countrywide as tourist arrivals have plummeted in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Zimbabwe’s hospitality association predicts tourist cancellations will reach 90% for the year.

That means many hotels will be standing idle, and the government is mulling taking over some of them as isolation centres for the testing and treatment of COVID-19 patients.

Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said tents would be used as temporary isolation centres in places where there were no buildings.

Less than 400 patients have been tested so far, and 11 positive cases found, but there are growing fears that cases are going undetected or being misdiagnosed as malaria or pneumonia.

The government's keen to show it's trying to step up preparations and said it was trying to get more testing kits.