Another Zimbabwean minister succumbs to Covid-19
Zimbabwe’s Transport minister Joel Matiza has succumbed to Covid-19, becoming the fourth minister to die due to the respiratory disease since the outbreak started last year.
Days after the death of Foreign Affairs Minister Sibusiso Moyo on Wednesday and Provincial Affairs Minister Ellen Gwaradzimba a week ago, Matiza’s death came on Friday.
After they were hospitalized early this month, both ministers succumbed to Covid-19.
The latest death was announced by Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa.
“Covid-19 has claimed yet another Cabinet minister in Honourable Joel Biggie Matiza, minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development,” said Mrs Mutsvangwa.
“JB Matiza brought a new beginning and added vigour to the development of our road network, both trunk and ancillary.
“Joel Biggie Matiza was also a tried and tested cadre of the ruling party.”
According to Nation Africa, since the beginning of the year, Zimbabwe has recorded a huge spike in cases involving Covid-19, which experts believe is fueled by the new South African variant.
The country reported 45 fatalities and 476 new Covid-19 cases on Friday.
With 962 fatalities and 21 080 recoveries, Zimbabwe’s Covid-19 caseload now stands at 30 523.
In July last year, retired Air Marshall Perrance Shiri became Covid-19’s first minister to die.
He was instrumental in the 2017 coup that toppled long-time ruler Robert Mugabe, together with the late retired Lieutenant General Moyo, the Foreign Affairs Minister.
Due to a weakened health delivery system, the deaths have raised new questions about Zimbabwe’s ability to manage the Covid-19 outbreak.
Years of underfunding have compromised the health delivery system and a severe brain drain is already being overwhelmed by Covid-19 cases. As they can not access health facilities, a significant number of people are said to be dying in their homes, reports Nation Africa.