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Does the City of Bulawayo have confirmed positive cases of COVID-19?

Claim: Bulawayo Polytechnic recorded two confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 at the tertiary institution.

Verdict: False

Bulawayo Mayor, Solomon Mguni confirmed the city has no recorded positive case of the corona virus.He said this while addressing a press briefing held Thursday, March 26 at Council Chambers, City Hall Municipal Building.

Background

According to a viral WhatsApp message, Bulawayo Polytechnic recorded two confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 at the tertiary institution.The message was issued by one Vuyani Pambo, undersigned as the National Spokesperson on March 21.

“As things stand, Bulawayo Polytechnic has two cases of confirmed people who are infected with the Corona Virus. It is extremely ironic that a government that has taken an unsubstantiated hostile posture towards fellow Zimbabweans for crime, is struggling to take decisive measures to ensure we are safe from this virus which finds expression in Bulawayo through those who travel or originate from Europe,” Pambo wrote in the message.

Verification

Vuyani Pambo is a South African politician and not from the Bulawayo Polytechnic.A google search reveals he is the new spokesperson for the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), having been elected in February 2020.

Pambo is a former student leader of the Fees Must Fall movement, is now a Member of the National Assembly for the EFF and also a member of the party’s Central Command Team.
 
In the fake report, Pambo said although President Emmerson Mnangagwa declared COVID-19, a National Disaster, exposure to the virus within the country has already gained expression.

“The reactive nature of our government will see our people vulnerable to harm and ill heath, with no contingency plan to address emerging Corona Virus incidents. The suspension of gatherings of people over one hundred is a welcomed intervention, but we are concerned as to how this will be implemented.”

Pambo further said there was indecisiveness as to how the higher education sector was going to be addressed with regards to the virus.

“We have not heard a coherent plan as to how public health care facilities will engage those who come forth with symptoms and whether health professionals have been briefed as to how to engage the multitudes of people within higher education.

“It is apparent to us that Bulawayo under the leadership of the governing party is unable to institute effective travel bans due to its lack of independence. It is because we are unable as a country to produce our own cars, washing rags, houses and clothes that we cannot institute bans on nations plagued by the Corona Virus. Our lack of industrialisation leaves us vulnerable to viruses and diseases that are not of our own creation,” he said.
In the message, Pambo said  the polytechnic was concerned by the minimal role that the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) was afforded to fight against COVID-19.

“We call for decisive travel bans against affected nations regardless of their investments in Zimbabwe. We call for health interventions that prioritise the poor, and look to solutions that are people centred rather than profit orientated. Zimbabwe must avoid large gatherings whether they be social, religious or otherwise.

“We urge government to avail resources to experts to conduct research that will assist in alleviating the consequences of the virus. We call for calm, patience and responsibility by all Zimbabweans in this difficult time,” read the fake message.

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