- Zororo Makamba, a renowned Zimbabwean journalist, has passed away
- The celebrated journalist was confirmed as the first casualty of the coronavirus in Zimbabwe
- He had been admitted to hospital last Thursday and was said to have contracted the virus in America
In a report seen by Briefly.co.za on CNN.com, Zimbabwean journalist Zororo Makamba was one of the two people who tested positive for the coronavirus on Saturday, 21 March.
The 30-year-old TV star was admitted to hospital in the capital Harare after exhibiting flu-like symptoms last Thursday, the health ministry said in a statement.
Makamba contracted the virus while he was in New York and was in isolation at Wilkins Hospital, Harare's only isolation facility.
A childhood friend of Makamba's told CNN he was suffering from a rare condition known as Myasthenia gravis, a chronic, neuromuscular illness, and had undergone surgery to remove a tumour from his chest last year. This may have led to his immune system being compromised.
TV personality and executive producer, Vimbai Muthinhiri, said Makamba was like a brother to her and their families were close growing up.
"Zororo embodied what comes to mind when we talk about Africa's next generation being our hope," Muthinhiri said.
"He was Zo, our little brother and ever happy friend who always saw a silver lining in every situation. It's so difficult to accept that someone who was so full of life will no longer call to check in again," she added.
Zimbabwe's information minister, Monica Mutsvangwa, said she received the news with "extreme sadness and a deep sense of shock".
Makamba had travelled to New York on 29February and returned to his home in Harare on 9 March of this year.
He began to exhibit mild flu-like symptoms a few days later on 12 March. He then contacted his doctor a week later and he was advised to self-isolate, Health Minister Obadiah Moyo said in the statement.
On arrival at the hospital, Makamba developed severe respiratory distress and was kept in isolation under supervision from health practitioners.
Authorities are now tracing people who came into contact with him.
Zimbabwe currently has two confirmed cases of Covid-19. Experts are concerned about the possible cost to life if the virus gets a foothold in the country.
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