Covid-19: Zanu PF, MDC-T Blamed For New Year Gatherings

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By Anna Chibamu

THE Zimbabwe Senior Hospital Doctors Association (ZSHDA) has raised alarm over perceived recklessness exhibited by political parties and general revellers who disregarded Covid-19 restrictions through gathering in large numbers over the past few days.

The doctors are also concerned Zimbabwe is under a serious threat from the new Covid-19 variant discovered last month in South Africa where a large number of Zimbabweans living and working there are back home for the festive holidays.

The requirement for travellers to produce valid Covid-19 negative certificates when exiting South Africa has also been removed by that country’s government to ease congestion at the Beitbridge Border Post.

However, in statement Friday, ZSHDA secretary-general Aaron Musara said the senior doctors were concerned that Zimbabwe was now exposed to the new severe pandemic variant.

“Zimbabwe is under serious risk from the Covid-19 strain detected in South Africa. The removal of the requirement for Covid-19 certificates for crossing via the Beitbridge Border Post exposes our nation to a severe pandemic,” he warned.

“That combined with various socio-political events that were lined up for this festive season may mean there is super spreading going on now.”

Last Sunday, the MDC-T held its extraordinary congress to elect a new president to replace the late founder leader Morgan Tsvangirai. The event was held at the Harare International Conference Centre (HICC) and was attended by over 1 000 delegates.

Former MDC-T interim president Thokozani Khupe who was one of the presidential candidates, on Wednesday announced she had tested Covid-19 positive.

Also last week, Zanu PF held a Central Committee meeting at the party headquarters in Harare where President Emmerson Mnangagwa gave a keynote address.

One of the delegates at the meeting Zanu PF’s UK/EU district chair, Masimba Tawengwa Thursday succumbed to Covid-19 at the Arundel hospital in Harare after testing positive soon after leaving the caucus.

Pictures have also gone viral showing thousands of party-goers gathered in public places celebrating the New Year across the country. Most of the revellers have not been observing social distancing or wearing face masks.

A live musical show was held in Mbare hostels in Harare and was attended by over 2 000 people on New Year’s Eve.

ZSHDA’s Musara said there was need for enforcement of Covid-19 mitigation measures to halt the spread of Covid-19 with figures Thursday showing that 363 people had succumbed to the pandemic.

“There is great need for enforcement of the Covid-19 mitigation measures while encouraging the public to observe the preventive measures for their own good. Our end-of-January to beginning-of-February do not look good from the current spread of the disease.”

Neighbouring South Africa has detected a new coronavirus variant, which scientists fear spreads and kills faster than the first strain.