Saturday, 20 June 2020

COVID-19 KILLS ONE MORE IN ZIMBABWE


A woman who tested positive to Covid-19 died on Friday in Gweru, bringing the number of deaths due to the disease in the country to five.

The death, which is the first in the Midlands Province comes nearly two months after the country reported a fatality from the disease. The last person to die of Covid-19, before the latest case, was an 82-year-old woman from Mashonaland West province, mother to ex-minister Sylvester Nguni who died on 22 April. The latest death was reported by the Minister of State for Midlands Provincial Affairs, Cde Larry Mavima yesterday while addressing a Zanu-PF meeting in Gokwe.

Cde Mavima said he received a call from Midlands provincial medical director Dr Reginald Mhene on Friday night notifying him of the death.

“It is with a heavy heart that I announce the death of a woman from Gweru who is said to have been Covid-19 positive. Dr Mhene called me last night (Friday) giving me the update. He told me that tests done on the woman after her death showed that she was Covid-19 positive. 

This brings to five the number of Covid-19 related deaths in the country and the first in the province,” said Minister Mavima who is also the chairperson of the Midlands Provincial Covid-19 Taskforce.

Cde Mavima said from statistics from the Ministry of Health and Child Care, it was evident that local transmission of Covid-19 was on the increase. He said it was therefore prudent for people to follow the lockdown rules and regulations such as maintaining social distance and wearing face masks so that the virus is contained.

Cde Mavima said Zanu-PF was taking the virus seriously as evidenced by the outreach programmes to the districts they were undertaking.

“This virus is there and it kills. The First Lady started going round the country conscientising people about Covid-19 and we are following after her footsteps. But the truth of the matter is that we need to follow the rules and regulations of the lockdown. They were put in place for a reason to protect us but we find people flouting lockdown rules and regulations to the detriment of other people’s health,” he said.
  
Cde Mavima said law enforcement agencies would not hesitate to bring people to book for flouting Covid-19 rules and regulations.

“We have a situation where we have people harbouring relatives and friends who ran away from quarantine centres. It is wrong and unsafe. People who come from quarantine centres must have certificates to that effect. Without one, people must report them to the police,” he said.

The latest developments come as the country continues to see a spike in the number of people testing positive to Covid-19. According to statistics from the Ministry of Health and Child Care, as of Friday the country recorded 16 new cases to take the total to 479. The ministry noted that of the new cases, five were returnees from South Africa and 11 were local transmissions. Although Bulawayo did not record new cases on Friday, it experienced a huge jump of 32 new cases on Thursday last week.

Meanwhile, the Government said it has only managed to account for 30 returnees of the 171 who escaped from various quarantine centres.

Addressing a Midlands Provincial Inter-Ministerial Taskforce on Covid-19 in Gweru on Thursday, Vice-President Kembo Mohadi said the Government was concerned with the behaviour of some of the returnees who are absconding quarantine centres while some are vandalising schools property at various centres.

“We have received complaints from quarantine centres, some of the returnees are disorderly. They also abscond quarantine. We now have 171 that have absconded and of those only 30 have been accounted for. The challenge is when they abscond, they go and mingle with other people in the community and if they will infect others if they have the virus. This will become very difficult for us,” he said. 

VP Mohadi said more than 2 600 Zimbabweans in South Africa have registered with the embassy to return back home as they fail to cope with the coronavirus-induced lockdown.

“The challenges that we are facing are not that much anymore. They are challenges that we believe our people may overcome. The greatest challenge is of the returnees. There are people coming from Botswana, South Africa all over the world. Just this week (last week) we received about 281 Zimbabweans from the cruise ships in Miami in the United States. We have been receiving people from all over the world and some are from China, they want to come back home. In South Africa we have 2 600 registered returnees who registered with our embassy to come back home. The people are coming from epicentres of the epidemic worldwide,” he said. Sunday News

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