CHIVI – Unlike the first two waves, the third Covid19 wave has entered rural areas and is threatening to wipe out vulnerable people who have no access to drugs, hospitals or ambulances.
Two people from Mashamhanda Village, under headman Jaka in Chief Chivi’s area died on Monday morning, one has been taken to hospital and 15 others tested positive to Covid 19, The Mirror has confirmed.
Mashamhanda Village has a total of 56 households and a population of around 230.
Although the 15 who tested positive were instructed to go on self-isolation, they are reportedly roaming around the villages and the business centre.
Chivi Central Ward 20 councillor Alec Nhundu described the situation in the village as a disaster and said efforts to bring in the Ministry of Health to intervene have so far been futile.
The area has a small clinic which refers patients to Chivi District Hospital but the latter does not have a Covid unit so infected people are just sent back home to self-isolate.
Nhundu said Mashamhanda Village is home to Murowa Diamond Mining operations (explorations) and the company’s workers come from different parts of the country which makes the area vulnerable to different Covid variants. The village is also close to Sese Business Centre.
The two people who died of Covid19 are relatives of well-known Harare businessman, Alex Mashamhanda; his mother and his driver only identified as Matemba who were staying in the village.
Mbuya Mashamhanda died at around 4am while the driver died a few hours later at around 8am and the seriously ill girl who is from another homestead in the village was taken to a hospital in Masvingo yesterday.
Mashamhanda confirmed the deaths in an interview with The Mirror.
Nhundu said that the virus was discovered after a young girl at Mashamhanda’s homestead fell ill and the businessman took her to a private doctor for tests and she was found positive to Covid19.
Mashamhanda who spent close to RTGS$2million on trying to contain the virus then brought a team of medics on Saturday 10 July 2021 to test people in the village and of the more than 50 tests done, 17 were positive including the driver. Mbuya Mashamhanda did not initially test positive but The Mirror is informed that she later tested positive when she was taken to Harare.
Most worrying is a bar lady at Sese who also tested positive and she could be a super spreader.
The Mirror is informed that Murowa Diamonds responded to the crisis by locking its workers in. They no longer work from villages and they are not allowed to enter the villages.
Efforts to get a comment from Murowa were futile.
Nhundu said that he visited Chivi District Environmental Health Office to seek help on the situation but he was told that they are overwhelmed attending to Covid deaths in the district.
The councillor urgently needs experts to raise awareness in the village on how to deal with the outbreak and Police to ensure that those who are on isolation comply.
“We face an unprecedented crisis unless relevant authorities intervene as a matter of urgency. Those who tested positive are roaming the area freely despite that they should be on isolation. It’s scary because they are spreading the virus. Under normal circumstances this village should be under total lockdown to avoid the spread internally and to neighbouring villages like Zhara, Chikore and Mandizvida.
“We also need Government to carry out awareness campaigns on how villagers can deal with this pandemic. We had no single case during the first two phases of Covid19 but suddenly we are awash with infections. Another challenge is that we have no resources completely, no adequate health facilities or ambulances in the case of emergency,” said Nhundu.
Nhundu thanked Mashamhanda who runs Mashwede Holdings for assigning Dr Mausa from Masvingo to attend to the pandemic.
There are fears of serious underreporting of Covid cases in the rural and this could result in an explosion.