By Mutsa Makuvaza
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa was forced to abandon a scheduled trip to his Pricabe Farm in Sherwood just Kwekwe after several of his security aides as well as his relative tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.
President Mnangagwa’s security includes the CIO, the Zimbabwe Republic Police (VVIP Police Protection Unit) and the military which entails the Presidential Guard and the Special Air Services.
The yellow-beret military personnel from Dzivaresekwa provide security to the head of state when he travels outside the capital to places such as his Pricabe farm.
According to an online publication The News Hawks, four soldiers from 2 Presidential Guard, located in Harare’s Dzivaresekwa suburb, 10 Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) operatives and seven police officers from the ZRP Police Protection Unit (PPU) underwent COVID-19 tests ahead of Mnangagwa’s Kwekwe trip.
The tests were conducted last week on Wednesday at the State House in Harare, the publication said, quoting unnamed sources.
“The President’s security team underwent Covid-19 tests at State House which involved inserting a six-inch-long swab into the nose (nasopharyngeal swab) for 15 seconds and rotating it several times,” a source in the Health ministry told The NewsHawks.
“It came as a shock when results came out. The President’s security team had been struck by the virus and thankfully most of them are asymptomatic at this stage. A farm manager who is also related to the President also tested positive. His trip had to be abandoned.”
The publication further said cases of COVID-19 have recently been detected at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe School of Intelligence in Msasa Park, Harare, where more than 50 security service personnel tested positive.
A few months ago workers at Zanu-PF headquarters, including high-ranking officials, were forced into self-quarantine after many people tested positive to the virus which poses a renewed threat to Zimbabwe.
But the COVID-19 crisis is not confined to the ruling party or Presidency, as most of the recorded cases are now communal transmissions meaning the virus is spreading among virtually every section of the society.
On Friday this week, Zimbabwe recorded 985 new COVID-19 cases and 22 deaths.
The total cumulative cases since March last year have shot past 20,000 with over 480 deaths reported.
The rising COVID-19 cases and fatalities recently prompted co-Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga, who also doubles as the Health and Child Care Minister, to announce a 30-day lockdown which began last Tuesday. –