Covid-19 claims life of Lands Minister Perrance Shiri.

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Lands and Agriculture Minister Perrance Shiri has died after falling ill just days after his official driver succumbed to Covid-19, writes OWEN MATAVA

Shiri becomes the first high profile person in government to have succumbed to the dreaded Covid 19 in Zimbabwe

He was 65.

According to highly placed sources, Shiri died while admitted at a private hospital in the capital Harare.

Motormouth Norton member of parliament Themba Mliswa took to Twitter to announce the passing on of the former freedom fighter and veteran of the liberation struggle.

“I’m gutted, just receive news that Rtd Air Marshal Hon Perrence Shiri popularly known as Gudo Guru during the liberation war, is no more. A true nationalist and Commander par excellence, the late Shiri was one of the hardworking and most effective members of the Cabinet”, said Mliswa.

Shiri was born Bigboy Chikerema in 1955 in Gweru.

Zimbabwe shut down its Parliament on Tuesday after two unnamed MPs tested positive for the respiratory illness whose outbreak was reported in central China late last year.

The rapid spread of the disease inside Zimbabwe has forced many companies to temporarily close, the latest being CBZ bank which reported that one of its employees had died from Covid-19 and 35 of 900 employees tested were positive.

On Tuesday, the ministry of health reported 113 new Covid-19 infections, pushing the total cases to 2,817.

Four deaths were reported, pushing the death toll to 40.

Of the 113 new cases, 112 were local transmissions. There were 62 recoveries.

In a statement, the ministry of health said two deaths were recorded in Manicaland, one in Bulawayo and one in Mashonaland East province. The dead are two men aged 40, a man aged 59 and a woman aged 50.

Bulawayo has the most deaths – 17 – followed by Harare with 10, Manicaland with four, Midlands with three, Matabeleland North with two while Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland West, and Matabeleland South have one death each. Masvingo Province is yet to report a Covid-19 death.