Mthabisi Tshuma, Sunday News Correspondent
ZANU-PF MP for Harare South Cde Tongai Mnangagwa has revealed that he has tested positive to coronavirus (Covid-19).
Cde Mnangagwa urged people who have had contact with him to self quarantine get tested so as to play their part in mitigating the spread of the virus.
As of today the Covid-19 death toll had risen to 80 with 154 more people testing positive, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 4 075 cases.
In an interview with Sunday News on Tuesday, Cde Mnangagwa confirmed details in a statement that has been circulating on social media platforms.
Cde Mnangagwa becomes the third legislator in Zimbabwe to test positive to the virus following revelations by the Speaker of National Assembly Jacob Mudenda last week that two members from the Transport Committee had contracted the virus which led Parliament to adjourn meeting to August 25 while safety measures are being put in place which include fumigation and disinfection of the parliament building.
“It is with great dismay that I have to deliver this news to you my friends and colleagues. I have tested positive for coronavirus disease Covid- 19 and I am appealing to everyone who has been in contact with me to take precautionary measures and get tested and/or go into isolation whilst practicing all the safety precautions.
“This is not something easy, it deters you from your loved ones and also affects the people around you that love you. It is not a situation I would want anyone to be in. It’s a painful road, having to get up each day and hope to make it to the next. I sometimes experience pain that is so excruciating that I feel like letting go.
“This disease has taken away our loved ones and continues to do so and this is sad. It would not be fair for me not to open up because I know I work with a lot of people and I do not want to see them lose their lives. I also owe it to the electorate who voted for me to get into parliament to represent them,” said Cde Mnangagwa.
Cde Mnangagwa said he was inspired to reveal his status in order to remove the stigma surrounding the virus so that it can be fought as a nation.
“I am appealing to you to take this seriously as a Nation, we are under attack from this deadly pandemic. Let us all stay vigilant and stay safe, this pandemic is taking lives. Kindly continue praying with and for me in this period.
“Protect yourself and others around you by knowing the facts and taking appropriate precautions. Follow advice provided by your local health authority,” he said.
Cde Mnangagwa said there is need to follow the Covid-19 guidelines.
“To prevent the spread of Covid-19 I urge everyone to play their part by practising the following measures which are namely; clean your hands often with use of soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand rub, maintain a safe distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing, wear a mask when physical distancing is not possible, don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth, cover your nose and mouth with your bent elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze and if you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention.
“Calling in advance allows your healthcare provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This protects you, and prevents the spread of viruses and other infections,” he said.
Cde Mnangagwa pleaded with the public to make use of the call centre which was launched by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe Cde E.D. Mnangagwa at Newlands in Harare on April 16.
“Masks can help prevent the spread of the virus from the person wearing the mask to others. Masks alone do not protect against Covid-19, and should be combined with physical distancing and hand hygiene. Follow the advice provided by your local health authority.
“Please use the following hotlines: Dial : 2023 Covid helpline ministry of information. Dial : 2019 or 393 rapid response for covid testing and anything to do with covid cases under the Ministry of Health,” said Cde Mnangagwa.
Asked how he was feeling today, Cde Mnangagwa said, “I am in pain, my brother. I think my challenge is that I have a problem with reoccurring tonsillitis. It’s just annual serious tonsil attacks and the pain is unbearable.”