Agriculture ministry offices shut down after officials test positive for Covid-19

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LANDS, Agriculture, and Rural Resettlement Deputy Minister, Vangelis Peter Haritatos, is among a host of senior officials in the ministry who are in self-isolation after being in contact with the late minister Perrence Shiri who succumbed to the deadly Covid-19 virus last week, Zim Morning Post can report.

This follows a health evaluation of close contacts to Shiri who on July 30 became the first senior government official to succumb to the pandemic.

For Covid-19, a close contact is defined as any individual who was within six feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from two days before illness onset.

The Agriculture ministry officials had a meeting with Shiri two days before he died, a source said.

Reached for comment government spokesman Nick Mangwana declined to shed light on the matter, appearing to suggest that it was not of public interest.

“I am not aware of people’s medical conditions and certainly that does not speak to Government policy,” Mangwana told Zim Morning Post.

Persistent efforts to get a comment from Haritatos did not bear fruit.

Cell phone messages sent to the Zanu PF Member of Parliament for Muzvezve were seen but not responded to.

However, highly placed source said over a dozen officials from the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, and Rural Resettlement and a high-ranking businessman (name withheld) who sat down with Shiri two days before his demise, tested positive for Covid-19 last week.

The source added that the affected officials have been given strict instructions to self-isolate at home.

“The whole ministry is on shut down and some results are expected anytime today (Tuesday),” said the source.

In mid-July the Finance ministry wing of New Complex Building, was shut to disinfect the premises after several employees tested positive for coronavirus (Covid-19).

The offices which house Finance and Economic Development minister Mthuli Ncube are currently being disinfected, Zim Morning Post can report.

The New Complex Building 3rd Floor –  offices which house Finance and Economic Development minister Mthuli Ncube – and other parts of the building were closed to allow fumigation.

As of August 4 2020, Zimbabwe had recorded 4 075 confirmed cases of coronavirus, 80 deaths and 1 057 recoveries.

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