HARARE (Reuters) – The number of coronavirus cases in Zimbabwe has more than doubled to 132 over the past 24 hours, a government spokesman said on Wednesday.

Most were Zimbabweans who had returned from abroad, mainly from South Africa and Botswana, and only one case was a local transmission, Nick Mangwana wrote on Twitter.

More than 4,000 Zimbabweans have returned to the country in the past month, the government has said.

Returnees are being placed under mandatory quarantine for 21 days, but Mangwana was quoted by the Sunday Mail newspaper as saying more than 100 had fled and were being sought by security agents.

Zimbabwe is under a coronavirus lockdown, though businesses have been allowed to extend their opening hours and other restrictions will be reviewed on Saturday.

Zimbabweans fear that a surge in cases could overwhelm a health service that was already struggling with shortages of medicines before the coronavirus outbreak.

(Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe; Editing by Nqobile Dludla and John Stonestreet)

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