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Aide Travelling in China With Zimbabwe VP Chiwenga Tests Positive for COVID-19

Zimbabwe's Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga speaks during the Defence Forces Day celebrations held at the National Sports Stadium in Harare on August 14, 2018. (Photo by Jekesai NJIKIZANA / AFP)

The Wall Street Journal reports that hundreds of people were quarantined at a luxury hotel in Beijing, China, after a person travelling with Zimbabwe’s Vice President Constantino Chiwenga tested positive for COVID-19.

The newspaper reports that guests at Legendale Hotel were quarantined on Thursday when the unidentified aide tested positive for coronavirus.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Chiwenga hired a private jet to fly to China to undergo a throat treatment.

Indications are that Chiwenga has not contracted coronavirus.

Information Secretary, Nick Mangwana, did not respond to questions sent to him 24 hours ago amid reports that the vice president’s trip to China was kept a secret by the Zimbabwean government.

Chiwenga, who led a coup that toppled former Zimbabwean strongman the late Robert Mugabe in 2017, was hospitalized in China in 2019 for more than four months for an unknown illness.

In September last year, Chiwenga announced that the government would no longer avail foreign currency for state officials intending to receive treatment of any ailment in foreign hospitals.

He said, “We will not export our patients. We will not make referrals to our patients. It is everybody, ministers. Those who have been going out it is you and me. Is it not it? Altogether but that export bill was too high and that is what we want to do away with. Zimbabwe has a national medical bill that is high. It is, therefore, imperative that the country develops a method of containing the import bill through health care innovations for import substitution.

"This entails inverting the import bill burden into export receipts either in part or most importantly in the whole. This will improve the funding of the national health care system. We will have hospitals that will specialize in different treatment services across the country. We are restructuring from the village health worker right up to the top hospital."

Zimbabwean hospitals are currently almost full of COVID-19 patients amid concerns that the Delta variant is killing a large number of people in the country. Almost 500 people died of COVID-19 in the country in the past week.

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