Covid-19 takes toll on Lands ministry as more than 40 staffers test positive

MORE than forty employees from the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, and Rural Resettlement tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday, Zim Morning Post has learnt.

Among those who tested positive are directors and senior managers.

This follows the shutdown of the offices on Tuesday to pave way for testing of close to 300 staffers.

The results came out Wednesday morning.

Our trusted sources revealed that the Permanent Secretary John Basera refused to be tested- despite having been in close contact with some senior employees who tested positive.

“The permanent secretary refused to be tested but lately he has been in marathon meetings with some senior staffers who tested positive,” revealed our source.

The ministry’s officers has been subject to  health evaluation of close contacts to the late minister Perrence 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.

The deputy minister Vangelis Haritatos  is in self isolation.

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.

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.