Minister beats Covid-19 twice, credits vaccine for survival
PUBLIC Service, Labour and Social Welfare Deputy Minister Lovemore Matuke, who beat Covid-19 twice, has attributed being second time lucky to Government’s vaccination drive that saw him being among the first 100 people in the country to be jabbed.
The ongoing vaccination programme is part of broader efforts to minimise the spread of the global pandemic.
Deputy Minister Matuke developed serious health complications after contracting Covid-19 in July last year. Under a year after recovering from the first bout, the deputy minister again caught the virus in May but managed to beat the virus without any serious complications thanks to the vaccination programme, which Government started rolling out in February.
Deputy Minister Matuke was among the first group of people to embrace the programme, which has so far seen over five million people being vaccinated.
As of Wednesday, a total of 3 191 276 people had received the first jab and 2 440 636 their second.
Deputy Minister Matuke urged Zimbabweans to dispel the myths alleging that vaccines create or cause variants of the virus that causes Covid-19.
“When the vaccination programme started, I believe I was among the first 100 people in the country to get jabbed because I knew the importance of vaccination. Since I got vaccinated, I never experienced another serious attack,” he said.
“As much as some people are skeptical, I believe vaccination is important, especially in my case because of the nature of my job, which involves interacting with people.”
Deputy Minister Matuke said when he contracted the virus for the second time, the symptoms were mild and he recovered within a week after isolating at home in Harare. He tested positive during routine tests at Zanu-PF headquarters where he had gone to attend a Politburo meeting.
“The second infection was mild because I had been vaccinated which meant I could not develop life threatening complications. I just isolated myself for 14 days and took normal medication and in about a week’s time, the virus had disappeared,” he said.
The deputy minister said he suspected that when he was attacked by the virus for the first time, it was after visiting several quarantine centres across the country to assess living conditions of the returnees.
He does not know where or how he caught the virus the second time.
“I was first attacked by the virus last year because during that time we had returning citizens coming into the country and I would visit those quarantine centres around the country to assess their living conditions and welfare,” he said.
To fight the virus, the deputy minister said he ate garlic, onion, and steamed using zumbani/umsuzwane/wormwood.
He said he also used other indigenous plants in and around his rural home and took vitamins B, C and D and zinc.
“I was made to drink some mixture of water, garlic and onion as well as steam using zumbani and other indigenous plants. All this was made possible with the assistance of my wife and my daughter who risked it all for me, and today here I am,” he said.
Deputy Minister Matuke first tested positive on July 26 last year. This was after he had decided to go for Covid- 19 testing after he started experiencing flu like symptoms.
He said he also had a fever, dry cough and experienced tiredness. “I started sneezing first before experiencing a dry cough and I decided to go for Covid-19 testing on July 26. Results came back positive on July 29,” he said.
After testing positive, he said he advised his colleagues in the ministry and thereafter went to his rural home in Gutu, Masvingo province to self-isolate.
During the first attack, Deputy Minister Matuke said the first week was very difficult for him as he feared death.
“Remember we are dealing with a virus that has no cure. So, I was afraid, my family was afraid. We were all facing what looked like a bleak future and the first week was not good. But I had to fight it and fortunately I tested negative about three times,” he said.
Deputy Minister Matuke thanked God for saving his life. He also paid special tribute to his wife and his daughter who is a nurse for risking their lives for his sake.
He said the two went out of their way putting him on drips, feeding him and making sure he drank hot water and steamed at least four times a day.
He also paid tribute to his parents, in-laws and siblings for supporting him in his hour of need.
The deputy minister urged people to get vaccinated to curb Covid-19 related deaths in the country.