Coronavirus Africa on January 23, 2021: Zimbabwe Loses 4 Ministers to Coronavirus
Within a few days, the government in Zimbabwe lost several ministers to the coronavirus. Shortly after Foreign Minister Sibusiso Moyo, Transport Minister Joel Matiza also died of coronavirus. In mid-January, the Minister for Affairs of the Manicaland Province, Ellen Gwaradzimba, succumbed to the consequences of a SARS-CoV-2 infection. The death of Agriculture Minister Perrance Shiri had already been reported in July.
According to unconfirmed media reports, several other cabinet members are wrestling with death in a private clinic. "We are in a dark cloud that we have to get rid of as soon as possible," said Deputy Health Minister John Mangwiro of the German Press Agency. He held out the prospect of tightening the lockdown with a curfew imposed at the beginning of January.
Restaurants and bars are closed.
According to the previous regulations, people are not allowed to leave their homes between 6:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. (local time). A maximum of 30 participants is allowed at meetings. Restaurants, bars, and sports halls had to close. However, according to Mangwiro, not all residents respect the restrictions.
In Zimbabwe, almost 1,000 coronavirus deaths have been officially registered since the pandemic began. With an estimated population of 16 million people, this number is comparatively low. Nevertheless, COVID-19 brings the already ailing health system into serious trouble. There are widespread complaints on social media that the government is refusing to wear protective clothing for hospital staff and asking for a raise in the face of rampant inflation. As a result, many doctors, nurses, and carers went on strike in the summer.
Bribery in the highest circles
Investigative journalist Hopewell Chin'ono had uncovered suspected corruption in the procurement of protective equipment in June, in which members of the government are alleged to be involved. Chin'ono has since been arrested several times and spent several weeks in prison. The political leadership under President Emmerson Mnangagwa is increasingly repressive against critics. In mid-August, the Catholic Bishops' Conference in Zimbabwe criticized the government for viewing anyone who disagreed as an enemy.
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