Sunday, 26 July 2020

I'M DOING MY WIFE'S CHORES : MPOFU IN QUARANTINE


THE Zanu-PF Secretary for Administration, Dr Obert Mpofu, says he is doing most of the chores his wife does, among other many things, since he has been quarantined alone at his Nyamandlovu home as part of Covid-19 preventive measures.

Dr Mpofu went into self-quarantine after attending a conference for global political parties in Tanzania recently. His wife, Mrs Sikhanyisiwe Mpofu is in Bulawayo.

“I have been very busy actually with chores at my farm here, doing things that do not require contact with people. I have been tending to my crops a lot, seeing that all is in order and ensuring produce is of good quality. I have also been occupied with writing my book, so there is a lot of reading, writing and editing that I am doing and it has kept me busy this whole time. I am also doing some chores my wife would ordinarily do but I will be returning to office soon,” he said in a telephone interview. 

Dr Mpofu said self-quarantine is a must despite social and political standing if one has been to a place where they could have been exposed to Covid-19. In addition, the country has a 21-day mandatory quarantine for returning residents and visitors, with testing supposed to be done on Day One, Day Eight and Day 21.

“This is a preventative measure which everyone regardless of stature should go through if we are to fully adhere to the World Health Organisation (WHO) requirements as well as the directive from Government and the President against Covid-19. I was in Tanzania attending a conference which went on for four days and I had a stopover in Ethiopia and spent some time there. So, on my return I went into quarantine,” he said.

Dr Mpofu said he consulted medical experts and took all necessary steps before leaving the country.

“Before I left, I reported to the Ministry of Health and Child Care about my trip and asked them what I must do before I left in view of the pandemic. The ministry was very swift in sending its doctors to do tests on me. Initially I was scared but I needed to have that process done. They came and tested me, the tests seemed scary at first but it’s quite comfortable. I did a Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test and it was done by professionals and didn’t take seconds. 

“I had to go through that and the tests were rushed to the laboratories and I was told not to travel until the results were out. I was given the results in time for me to travel to Tanzania. I took sanitisers and masks following the doctor’s advice on how to conduct myself while I was there and I did just that.”

He raised fears of Tanzania’s stance on not wearing masks.

“I flew in a small aircraft with people without masks and attended a conference with people without masks, just a few of us had masks, the Chinese delegation and a few others had them. We stuck to our regulations and stayed safe.

“To them, they have strong reasons why they are not using masks, but besides that fact we stuck to our regulations from Zimbabwe. That served a purpose. I even said to myself if I didn’t contract the virus under those circumstances in Tanzania then it would be difficult for me to contract it at home where we have strict regulations,” said Dr Mpofu.

He said he followed protocols on self-quarantine on his return home and was given an all clear by officials.

“On our return we were put in quarantine for eight days initially, then we wanted to get further tests and the doctors said we should wait for further four days, which we have done and the days have expired and according to them, with the development of the virus we could be safe. I am now free to move around after the 12 days in quarantine,” he said. 

Dr Mpofu said being in quarantine was necessary but an unusual experience.

“It is unusual in one’s life because as a politician and parent you need to have your family around and people around you, but this time around my wife also stayed away from me. She has been in town (Bulawayo) and I am in Nyamandlovu (Matabeleland North province), it’s quite strange yes, but necessary as you cannot expose people to this virus which you know will affect their lives to the extent of losing them,” he said.

Dr Mpofu added that the position taken by Zimbabwe and President Mnangagwa through expert advice was the best to save lives.

“I urge colleagues to prevent themselves from contracting this virus either at home or when they travel in and around the country. If you look at what is happening in other countries, it’s frightening that people are dying, including in our neighbouring countries. Zimbabwe has done its best to avoid massive deaths, it’s a pity we have people that always go against rules and instructions, they do not wear masks or keep social distances and are mingling in crowds. Common sense should tell you to do what the experts say you must do.

“It may be difficult for them to understand how transmission of the virus goes. It was very easy with HIV because people understood the type of contact that would lead one to be infected but this one is unknown, it could be from surfaces, the air and so on. So, it is an enemy attacking whose description we do not know. We must be careful.”

Dr Mpofu said he was grateful that Dr (David) Parirenyatwa (former Minister of Health and Child Care), Dr (John) Mangwiro Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care and Dr Prosper Chonzi the Director of Health Services at Harare City Council who have been in touch with him every day checking on his well-being.

“I am still very careful even after my return and quarantine period. I still feel I should continue with that protective attitude,” he said. Sunday News



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