Five villagers from Lower Gweru under Chief Sogwala have died of Covid-19 in a space of a week after attending a funeral service for a relative who had succumbed to the virus.
According to the local leadership, several other villagers, most of them relatives who were at the burial ceremony last week, contracted the virus.
The local village head Mrs Siziwe Siyaphi who confirmed the five deaths, said the afflicted Ngwenya family had a deceased relative whose body came from South Africa in a coffin sealed with plastic after he died from Covid-19
Instead of burying their loved one in line with Covid-19 control regulations, they opened the wrapped coffin and conducted body viewing,” said the village head.
Many people in the village are now said to have been infected by the virus and the matter was reported to Chief Sogwala and the local Member of Parliament, Omega Sibanda.
“We have raised the matter with our senior local leadership and Vungu Rural District Council has dispatched teams to conduct massive testing in the village,” she said.
Chief Sogwala lamented the level of complacency in the area and called on his subjects to adhere Covid-19 regulations.
“This is the situation we are faced with here in Lower Gweru. Covid-19 has wreaked havoc, killing people but I blame it on the complacency from our people.
“They should just adhere to Covid-19 regulations.
“We should also avoid unnecessary movements and continue to mask up.
“This is my appeal to my people and the people of Zimbabwe,” he said.
Chief Sogwala said the local leadership should do more to concientise villagers about the pandemic.
“The President has said MPs and other local leaderships should conduct awareness campaigns so we expect them to be on their toes now. We have not seen them here yet,” he said.
Government regulations stipulate that only 30 people are allowed to attend funeral gatherings under strict Covid-19 health protocols, while body viewing is banned.