Stakes are high for Zimbabwe in the scramble for COVID-19 vaccine
Illegal miners have found their way from all over the country to areas like Penhalonga in Mutasa, Rusitu in Chimanimani, Nyazingwe in Nyanga north among many others to dig for gold
Areas frequented by illegal miners possible Covid- 19 hotspots. – Cde Chido Sanyatwe (MP)
Despite the Covid 19 restrictions put in place by Government, thousands of illegal gold miners are still trekking to the various mining sites around Manicaland province in search of better fortunes, posing a serious threat to the fight against the pandemic.
The miners, who usually congregate in huge numbers at a single site, have not stopped working and authorities fear they could be exposing themselves and the communities they operate in.
Manicaland is mineral resource-rich and over the past decade, illegal miners have found their way from all over the country to areas like Penhalonga in Mutasa, Rusitu in Chimanimani, Nyazingwe in Nyanga north among many others to dig for gold.
Nyanga North Member of Parliament Cde Chido Sanyatwe said the areas that are frequented by the illegal miners were possible Covid- 19 hotspots.
“We have many areas where illegal gold miners operate around the province and here in Nyanga, we have several areas around the Nyazingwe, Fombe, Ruwangwe, and other areas. These miners have no regard for Covid- 19 regulations when they do their work, they do not wear masks and they interact freely with the local communities. We fear that these areas might become hotspots,” she said.
As at February 1, Manicaland had 3422 cumulative cases, 2528 recoveries, and 166 deaths.
She said it was imperative for the Joint Operation Command (JOC) and provincial Covid 19 Taskforce to visit such areas and come up with measures to minimise the activities.
“We are working towards reducing the impact of the pandemic on our people but if we do not act on these illegal miners, we might lose that fight. Our communities should be safe and they will not be safe if these activities continue unchecked,” said Cde Sanyatwe.