The provincial minister for Zimbabwe’s Manicaland province Ellen Gwaradzimba died of COVID-19 complications on Friday, becoming the latest high-profile casualty of a pandemic that has so far claimed more than 636 lives since April 2020.Deputy Sports Minister Tinoda Machakaire said Gwaradzimba, 60, died of COVID-19.
“It is with a very sad heart that I inform you of the passing on of the Minister of State for Manicaland Provincial Affairs,” Deputy Sports Minister Tinoda Machakaire said in a Facebook post.
An official announcement was expected from the Office of the President and Cabinet later on Friday.
Ruling ZANU PF sources said the provincial minister passed away at a Harare hospital where she was receiving treatment after being moved from Mutare, the provincial capital of Manicaland.
Gwaradzima, who has been Manicaland provincial minister since 2019, becomes the second Zimbabwean minister to succumb to COVID-19 following the death of former agriculture minister Perrance Shiri last year.
The death comes amid a spike in the number of COVID-19 infections, with the Ministry of Health announcing on Friday that Zimbabwe had recorded a record 1,112 cases and 47 deaths in the last 24 hours.
The cumulative number of cases stood at 25,368 and 636 deaths as of Friday.