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Prominent broadcaster becomes Zimbabwe's first COVID-19 death

The reality of the coronavirus sank in on Monday, as a prominent broadcaster Zororo Makamba (30) became the first confirmed person to die of COVID-19 in Zimbabwe.

The high profile television personality and son of business mogul and Zanu PF politician James Makamba had been admitted to hospital after his condition deteriorated.

The Ministry of Health and Child Care via Twitter confirmed the death of Zororo Makamba, the second person to test positive in Zimbabwe.

#Covid19Zim Update for 23 March 2020. A very sad day today as one of the two positve cases died today.
Today, the National Reference Lab tested a total of 15 cases & all tested Negative. pic.twitter.com/IqbHVYvWPf

— Ministry of HealthZW (@MoHCCZim) March 23, 2020

He had underlying medical conditions, making him more vulnerable to complications arising from the virus.

He had travelled to New York late last month and returned home on March 9, transiting through Johannesburg in neighbouring South Africa.

Government said he begun showing mild flu-like symptoms on March 12 that progressively worsened. He consulted a doctor and was instructed to self-quarantine.

The broadcaster launched his media career at local radio station ZiFM Stereo, where he hosted current affairs programmes. He moved to television where one of his most popular known shows was “Tonight with Zororo”, which aired on MNet’s Zambezi Magic.

He won several accolades including a National Arts and Merit Award and Best Male Achiever at the Zimbabwe Youth Achievers Awards.

On Friday the country reported its first coronavirus case, a 38-year-old man who returned from Britain to his home in the tourist resort town of Victoria Falls.

The government has closed schools, cancelled public and sporting events and restricted gatherings in a bid to curb the spread of the virus.

It has also prohibited government officials from travelling outside the country, although President Emmerson Mnangagwa at the weekend flew to Namibia to attend the swearing-in ceremony of his counterpart Hage Geingob.

Zimbabwe’s public health system has been suffering for years from a lack of equipment and drugs and there are fears it will struggle to cope with the outbreak.

“The system… is overstretched and inadequate to deal with a coronavirus epidemic,” Norman Matara, the secretary general of the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights, said at the weekend.