Patrick Chitumba, Midlands Bureau Chief
The family of a truck driver from Lower Gweru, who has been self-isolating at home, has been subjected to abuse at the hands of ignorant villagers who believe they will spread Covid-19 in the area.
The truck driver’s teenage son was on Sunday allegedly assaulted by villagers who demanded the relocation of the family.
Sources in Makepesi Village said the driver arrived for self-isolation on Friday following advice from health officials.
It is normal for people who have been outside the country to self-isolate first before going into public spaces.
Midlands Provincial Affairs Minister, who is also provincial Covid-19 taskforce chairperson, Cde Larry Mavima yesterday said the driver has since tested negative.
“The man tested negative and you can get details from Dr (Reginald) Mhene (Midlands Provincial Medical Director and provincial Covid-19 taskforce epidemiology and technical services chairperson),” said the Minister.
Said Dr Mhene: “I don’t have details as yet. Am looking for the details.”
Chief Chisadza under whose jurisdiction Makepesi falls, confirmed the arrival of the driver at his home.
“Yes, we had a meeting with health officials with regards to the driver. He is at his home but the challenge is stigmatisation. But what I know is that health officers came and assessed his home before they brought him which on its own should mean that he is not a danger to the community. The villagers lack knowledge because they think that being Covid-19 positive is a death sentence,” he said.
Asked if the driver’s family had faced abuse from fellow villagers, Chief Chisadza said: “I didn’t see the discrimination or abuse but I heard that one of the family members was beaten at the shops. Now for fear of abuse or discrimination they are staying indoors and can’t even go to the shops or to fetch water or firewood. I appeal for this family to be assisted.
“Education is needed because you can be Covid-19 positive and recover we have more recoveries than deaths. But it’s a matter of taking the education to the people. I call upon Government departments to reach out to the people and also support this family so that they have food and other basic commodities because they are being discriminated against.”
A Chronicle crew visited the driver’s home but could not talk to members of the family as there was no one outside the yard and the gate was locked.
Gweru Provincial Hospital medical superintendent Dr Fabian Mashingaidze said people can self- isolate without any problems.
“Self-isolation can happen to a case that doesn’t have symptoms. This is when you remain in your home or accommodation and avoid contact with other people. Most people who need to self-isolate will probably be advised to do so for 14 days. You don’t go to public places where you might have contact with other people, such as work, school, childcare, church, university or public gatherings,” he said.