The second Coronavirus (COVID-19) death has opened a pandora’s box and given a window view into the lack of transparency and accountability in the handling of this pandemic in Zimbabwe, an activist has said.
Center for Natural Resource Governance (CNRG) director Farai Maguwu, in a statement lampooned the government for what he said was failure to manage the fast spreading virus.
A 79-year-old man from Bulawayo succumbed to the pandemic on Saturday and the government only announced the results of the tests on Tuesday.
Zimbabwe has so far recorded 11 confirmed cases of the virus and three fatalities.
Maguwu said the low cases of COVID-19 in the country are a result of failure to test as many people due to incapacitation of the ministry of health.
“The criteria for testing has remained shrouded in secrecy and the public, especially those outside Harare, have not been informed of steps to follow in order to be tested,” he said.
“According to an update by the Ministry of Health and Child Care dated 7 April 2020, the now deceased case Number 11 died without his status. The results came out three days after his death.”
Maguwu lamented that such circumstances endanger the lives of health workers and that of members of the public.
He said in order to be able to respond swiftly to the pandemic and to effectively conduct tests in the shortest possible time, the government needs to establish provincial and district COVID-19 testing and isolation centres.
“The government must expedite testing of suspected case samples and delivery of equipment for personal protection. It should at least make use of Zimbabwe Air force helicopters to ensure timely delivery of equipment and services in needy areas,” said Maguwu.
The activist further reiterated that the withholding of vital information regarding the pandemic in the country by the government is a direct violation of the right to information as provided for in the Constitution.