Zimbabwe government minister died from COVID-19

FILE PHOTO: Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa congratulates Perrance Shiri, the new minister of Land, Agriculture and Land Resettlement are seen after the swearing in of cabinet ministers at State House in Harare, Zimbabwe December 4, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo/File Photo

HARARE (Reuters) – Zimbabwe’s agriculture minister Perrance Shiri died from the COVID-19 infection, becoming the first senior government official to succumb to the pandemic, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Thursday.

Shiri, a retired general who helped plot a coup that ousted Robert Mugabe in 2017, died on Wednesday.

The late liberation war veteran was declared a national hero and will be buried on Friday during a closed ceremony.

“Now that it is confirmed that Minister Shiri died of COVID-19, we will follow World Health Organisation regulations on how the funeral should proceed,” Mnangagwa said during a funeral wake at Shiri’s home in Harare.

Zimbabwe has recorded 2,879 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 40 deaths.

Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

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