ZIMBABWE Government spokesperson Nick Mangwana was left in a difficult spot after his sister died and he was unable to attend the funeral.
In a statement he shared, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services said his sister died over the weekend. Her burial took place this Tuesday.
“Last weekend, I lost my sister to Covid-19. She was buried on Tuesday. She picked the COVID-19 that took her life at another family member’s funeral,” said Mangwana.
He added that not attending his sister’s funeral was one of the toughest personal decisions he ever made.
“I will have to go round condoling with family,” Mangwana said.
The former Zanu-PF UK branch chairperson stirred controversy last year when he attended a birthday party of his boss, Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa, in apparent breach of lockdown regulations. Mangwana wriggled his way out saying all the party attendees had been tested prior to the event but some Cabinet Ministers who attended have since succumbed to Covid-19.
Funerals have become super spreaders of the pandemic, particularly in rural areas where law enforcement is erratic and information is not readily available.
The Herald reports that five villagers from Lower Gweru under Chief Sogwala died of Covid-19 in a space of a week after attending a funeral service for a relative who had succumbed to the virus. Several other villagers, most of them relatives who were at the burial ceremony last week, contracted the virus.
Village head Siziwe Siyaphi who confirmed the five deaths, said the afflicted Ngwenya family had a deceased relative whose body came from South Africa in a coffin sealed with plastic after he died from Covid-19
“Instead of burying their loved one in line with Covid-19 control regulations, they opened the wrapped coffin and conducted body viewing,” said the village head.
Chief Sogwala lamented the level of complacency in the area and called on his subjects to adhere Covid-19 regulations.
“This is the situation we are faced with here in Lower Gweru. Covid-19 has wreaked havoc, killing people but I blame it on the complacency from our people. They should just adhere to Covid-19 regulations.
“We should also avoid unnecessary movements and continue to mask up. This is my appeal to my people and the people of Zimbabwe,” he said.
Government regulations stipulate that only 30 people are allowed to attend funeral gatherings under strict Covid-19 health protocols, while body viewing is banned.