Zimbabwe has recorded its first death from Covid-19, Zororo Makamba (30) who died yesterday afternoon at Wilkins Infectious Diseases Hospital in Harare.
He was the second confirmed case with coronavirus after a Victoria Falls man (38) had tested positive last week. Makamba had been admitted to hospital after his condition deteriorated.
He had underlying medical conditions, making him more vulnerable to complications arising from Covid-19.
Makamba travelled to New York, in the United States on February 29 and returned to Harare on March 9, via Johannesburg, South Africa. He started exhibiting mild flu symptoms on March 12, which got worse on March 19. He consulted with his doctor, who advised him to self-isolate at home.
The doctor alerted the local Covid-19 rapid response team which immediately went to assess him and recommended that he continues with self-isolation while specimens were sent to the reference laboratory for testing
They were positive, but he was only moved to Wilkins when he later developed severe respiratory distress.
Confirming his death at a Press conference in Harare yesterday, Health and Child Care Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo said Government was still following up on all those who could have made contact with Makamba since his return.
“We appeal to all those who could have made contact with the deceased to present themselves for screening at Wilkins Infectious Diseases Hospital. Staff at Wilkins will be ready for screening starting from 9am,” said Dr Moyo.
Asked how many people who could have had contact with Makamba had been screened, Dr Moyo said figures were still being collated.
Dr Moyo said Makamba had other underlying conditions, which made him more vulnerable to Covid-19.
The broadcaster launched his media career at ZiFM Stereo, where he hosted current affairs programmes. He moved to television where one of his best-known shows was “Tonight with Zororo”, which aired on MNet’s Zambezi Magic.
He won several accolades including a National Arts and Merit Award and Best Male Achiever at the Zimbabwe Youth Achievers Awards.
Commenting on the first confirmed case from Victoria Falls, Dr Moyo said his condition was stable.
On the third suspected case, which was initially rumoured to be positive over the weekend, Dr Moyo said initial tests were inconclusive, meaning the sample could have been contaminated and could have provided an inaccurate result. Dr Moyo said the patient will now have to be subjected to a second round of sample taking.
President Mnangagwa and Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa have given their condolences.
The President in his message to the family said: “I learnt with great shock and sadness of the death this morning of a very resourceful and talented young man, Zororo Makamba, following his admission to a local hospital at the weekend after testing positive to the corona virus.
“His passing on so suddenly has been unexpected as we had held high hopes also for his steady recovery following good news about our first confirmed victim of the virus who has registered commendable recovery, he said.
President Mnangagwa, however, said Zororo had an underlying heart condition for which he had been receiving medical attention.
He said the country has lost a promising young man who germinated from a crop of highly skilled and gifted journalist, who were striving to produce excellent local content and professionalism in the broadcasting fraternity.
The broadcasting sector is thus, all the poorer without the calibre of journalists like Zororo who had won the hearts and minds of many viewers and audiences with his captivating, well researched and balanced documents both aired on our local radio and television stations as we as on social media.
On behalf of the Government, Zanu PF and my family and on my own behalf, I wish to extend to the Makamba family, his relatives and friends, my heartfelt condolences on this their saddest loss which is our loss together, said the President.
Minister Mutsvangwa said she received the news of the passing on of Mr Makamba with great shock, extreme sadness and deep sense of shock.
The minister said she constantly and continuously worked with Mr Makamba on his much watched and greatly appreciated ‘State of the Nation’ program on Zimbabwe Television.
“He was a young intelligent and dynamic man that infused talent and passion for his work with intense patriotic pride. He always exuded that confidence in the face of daunting challenges.
“He communicated with promise and hope in the economic prospects of his beloved Zimbabwe. I extend my sincere condolences to the Makamba family as well as to relatives and friends of Zororo Makamba,” she said.
Minister Mutsvangwa said as the nation mourns Mr Makamba, it should take the threat of Covid-19 serious, by following due medical precautions announced by Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation.