The ministry of health said the 79-year-old man, a resident of the city, first went to his doctor on March 23 complaining of a sore throat, dry cough and fever. He was given antibiotics and told to go home.
When his condition did not improve, he checked into the Catholic-run Mater Dei Hospital on April 2 and he was admitted – doctors believed he had "bacterial pneumonia with an underlying comorbidity."The patient, who had no history of foreign travel but had been to a tourist resort in Hwange from March 14 to 16, was referred to the intensive care unit on the same day of his admission and authorities at the hospital called the health ministry's rapid response team who collected specimens for testing.
Zimbabwe, which has a creaking health system after years of neglect, only has one coronavirus testing facility in Harare – and samples from outside the capital are sent there by road for a test which should not take more than five hours.
The patient died on Saturday, April 4, but the results were not known until Tuesday – some three days later, and four days after the specimens were collected.
The ministry of health said it had begun a process to trace people who came in contact with the man, the second person out of 11 cases to die since Zimbabwe declared its first coronavirus case on March 20. The first death was on March 23, that of a 30-year-old broadcaster Zororo Makamba who had travelled to New York in the United States.
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