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By Mutsa Makuvaza
PANIC has gripped Masvingo after three people collapsed and died in different places in the city within a few hours apart, sparking alarm that a more lethal Covid-19 variant could have entered Masvingo.
The local publication Mirror reported earlier on Wednesday that two people, one in the CBD and another in the populous suburb of Mucheke D, had collapsed and died early in the morning.
The first woman collapsed and died while using a toilet at Landmark Bar at around 8:45am and her body was removed by the Police and Ministry of Health officials at around 10am. The woman (75) from Mucheke D was removed by a Nyaradzo Funeral Services ambulance at around 12pm.
Later in the evening, the publication established that a woman aged 80 who also collapsed and died in Runyararo West a few hours apart with the earlier two deaths reported.
The body from Runyararo West was collected by officials from the Ministry of Health and the body was collected midmorning. Health officials are reportedly in high alert and the handling of the bodies has been with strict adherence to Covid-19 protocols.
All three are elderly women and the Ministry of Health has reportedly started contact tracing.
In its latest update, the Ministry of Health and Child Care advised that Zimbabwe recorded a shocking 2264 new Covid-19 cases on Wednesday and 34 deaths.
Mashonaland West (401), Harare Metropolitan (336), Matabeleland South (320) and Mashonaland East (289) topped the list of new infections.
Of the 34 deaths recorded, 10 were in the hotspot areas of Mashonaland West. Midlands (7), Harare (6) and Manicaland with 4 deaths had the highest figures.
To date, Zimbabwe has had 60 227 confirmed cases, including 42 330 recoveries and 1 973 deaths. To date, a total of 819 058 people have been vaccinated against COVID-19. ■