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HEALTH

Mugabe ‘not feeling well’, in Singapore hospital for treatment

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Robert Gabriel Mugabe

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa says he is taking good care of his ailing predecessor, Robert Mugabe, who is currently in Singapore for treatment.

“He has not been feeling well. At the age of 95, I think he is reasonably in good health. Currently, he is not in the country. He left on April 2 to Singapore, he will be away for about 29 days and he will come back,” Mnangagwa said in an interview with state-controlled media on Saturday.

“I am making sure that I do the facilitation for him to receive treatment, take him to Singapore and to bring him back, all the facilities, I make sure that it is done.”

Mnangagwa ascended to power in November 2017 in a military coup.

A few weeks before that, Mugabe had fired him as relations between the two soured amid allegations that Mnangagwa, who at the time was the country’s first vice-president, was plotting to unseat Mugabe through a military-backed faction in the ruling Zanu-PF party.
Mugabe turned 95 on February 24.

During his birthday celebrations with close family, the former strongman described Mnangagwa as a “cruel” man and called on him to remove the army from civilian matters.

Not much has been known about Mugabe’s movements until Mnangagwa revealed he was out of the country for medical treatment.

Since coming to power in November 2017 and subsequently winning a disputed poll on July 30 last year, Mnangagwa has been battling to save the economy from collapse.

The latest Freedom in the World Report on political rights and civil liberties by Freedom House says Zimbabwe has returned to a pre-coup situation.

“Zimbabwe’s political system returned in some ways to its pre-coup status quo, as the ruling Zanu PF party won deeply flawed general elections following the military’s ouster of longtime President Robert Mugabe in 2017.

“Despite Mnangagwa’s pledges to respect political institutions and govern in the interest of all Zimbabweans, his new administration has shown few signs that it is committed to fostering genuine political competition, and it has continued to enforce laws that limit expression,” the report says.

A January report by the Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) says about 70 per cent of Zimbabweans have no confidence in the current administration.

“Many people have a low opinion of the willingness and capability of government and other leaders to resolve pressing challenges due to lack of clarity of communication on the nature of the problems and how they are being addressed,” the report says.TimesLive

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HEALTH

Perence Shiri, Zimbabwe Agriculture Minister Dies

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Perrence-Shiri-Dead

Zimbabwe’s agriculture minister Perence Shiri, a retired general who helped plot the ouster of Robert Mugabe in a 2017 coup, has died, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Wednesday.

Perence Shiri, who commanded the air force for 25 years until he joined the government in 2017, was admitted to hospital on Tuesday, two government sources said. He died in the early hours of Wednesday.

“Shiri was a true patriot, who devoted his life to the liberation, independence and service of his country,” Mnangagwa said in a statement. He did not say how Shiri died.

But domestic media said Shiri, 65, succumbed to complications from the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus, which has infected 2,817 and killed 40 in Zimbabwe.

A liberation war veteran,Perrence Shiri had a chequered past. He commanded the army’s Fifth Brigade unit that carried out the 1980s massacres of thousands of civilians in western Zimbabwe as the government sought to quell an insurgency.

The army massacres, known as ‘Gukurahundi’, a Shona term meaning the ‘early rain that washes away the chaff’, remain a sore point for the people of the Matabeleland region, many of whom demand justice and reparations.

The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change accused Perence Shiri of being among the security chiefs who organised violence against its members after Mugabe lost the first round of the presidential vote in 2008.Reuters

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HEALTH

US buys nearly all of Gilead’s Covid-19 drug Remdesivir

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Remdesivir Covid 19

The US is buying nearly all the next three months’ projected production of Covid-19 treatment Remdesivir from US manufacturer Gilead.

The US health department announced on Tuesday it had agreed to buy 500,000 doses for use in American hospitals. Tests suggest Remdesivir cuts recovery times, though it is not yet clear if it improves survival rates.

Gilead did sign a licensing deal in May for production outside the US but it is still in its early stages.

“President Trump has struck an amazing deal to ensure Americans have access to the first authorised therapeutic for Covid-19,” Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement. A course of treatment in the US will cost $2,340 (£1,900).

Nine companies can make the drug under licence outside the US for distribution in 127 mostly poorer countries, and the cost is lower. But the project is still in its early stages.

Additional quantities are being manufactured for use in clinical trials. But critics say the US move to buy up so much stock from Gilead itself undermines international co-operation on COVID, given that other countries have taken part in trials of Remdesivir, originally an anti-viral against Ebola.

“The trial that gave the result that allowed Remdesivir to sell their drug wasn’t just done in the US. There were patients participating through other European countries, in the UK as well, and internationally, Mexico and other places,” Oxford University’s Prof Peter Horby told BBC Radio 4.

He said the move also had implications for any possible future vaccine, with the need for “a much stronger framework if we are going to develop these things and they’re going to be used for national emergencies”.

Senior Sussex University lecturer, Ohid Yaqub, said: “It so clearly signals an unwillingness to co-operate with other countries and the chilling effect this has on international agreements about intellectual property rights.”Some in the US have criticised the purchase price, as taxpayer money had helped fund Remdesivir’s development.BBC

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HEALTH

17 new Zimbabwe Covid-19 cases confirmed

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Zimbabwe Covid 19

Seventeen new cases of Covid-19 in Zimbabwe, a majority of which are from quarantine facilities were reported yesterday bringing the total number of cases to 591.

From the cases confirmed yesterday, 13 involved returnees from South Africa, one from Botswana while three were local transmissions. The Ministry of Health and Child Care daily update shows that one of the cases confirmed as a local transmission had to contact with a known confirmed case.

Investigations are, however, underway to establish the source of infection for the two other local transmissions. Cases of recoveries also continue to increase with the latest statistics from the update standing at 162, leaving the country with 421 active COVID 19 cases.

The latest recoveries were reported from Mashonaland East (3), Mashonaland Central (2), Bulawayo (2), Matabeleland North (2), Mashonaland West (1) and Manicaland (1). The number of people who have died from the virus remains at seven.

“To date, the total number of confirmed cases is 591, recovered 162, active cases, 422 and seven deaths since the onset of the outbreak on 20 March 2020,” reads part of the update.

Zimbabwe has so far conducted 67 755 tests for Covid-19 from which, 30 711 were diagnostic tests while the remaining were rapid tests done for screening purposes. The Herald

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