Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, who travelled to China early this month for his regular medical check-up, nicodemously slipped back into Zimbabwe on Friday and reportedly refused to self-isolate, a standard protocol put in place to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
China is one of the countries to have been worst hit by the virus and it was expected the VP should have subjected himself to a period of at least 7 days in self-isolation.
But the ailing VP was on Saturday mingling freely with President Emmerson Mnangagwa and other government officials at State House in Harare.
Both men were receiving disinfectants donated to five city councils and public transporter, ZUPCO by oil tycoon and Zanu PF financier Kuda Tagwirei.
Pictures and videos from the event show Chiwenga standing between Mnangagwa and Information Minister Mutsvangwa, while wearing a face mask.
Bizarrely Mutsvangwa responded to a question from the NewZimbabwe.com website in which she said “Yes. The VP is in self-isolation after returning from his routine medical treatment in China.”
As the coronavirus pandemic spreads worldwide, Mnangagwa on Friday announced he was imposing a nationwide lockdown for 21 days starting Monday to help curb the spread of the virus and security forces may be deployed to enforce it.
“Some of the measures will be drastic and are sure to upset the daily routines of our lives. Should it become necessary, security forces will be deployed to assist in the enforcement of these measures,” Mnangagwa said.
Mnangagwa also announced that he had appointed Chiwenga as the chairperson of the national coronavirus taskforce, replacing the heavily criticised Health Minister Obadiah Moyo.
Chiwenga is deputised by Defence Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri who earlier in the month claimed the virus was God punishing the West for imposing sanctions against Zimbabwe.
The country has reported five confirmed coronavirus cases and one death, although the opposition and other critics accuse the government of understating the figures and of dragging its feet in taking necessary action to halt the spread of the disease. Nehanda Radio