BY FREEMAN MAKOPA
Midlands gold miner, Baobab Minerals, has partnered with Kwekwe City Council to raise COVID-19 awareness among artisanal miners.
Speaking during an outreach programme recently, council health official Sheunesu Ngwenya pleaded with artisanal miners to desist from disregarding World Health Organisation safety regulations.
Ngwenya said Kwekwe residents were no longer masking up, thus fuelling the spread of the disease.
“COVID-19 has caused untold suffering to ordinary people. This, therefore, demands that all of us, council, government, and non-government actors must combine efforts to fight and defeat the virus.
“Our people must continue to follow WHO guidelines such as masking up so that we curb the spread of the virus, especially artisanal miners,” he said.
Baobab Minerals chairperson Peter Ganya told NewsDay that in some parts of Kwekwe, such as Mbizo, Newtown and Chicago, residents were no longer wearing masks or practising social distancing.
“We have noticed that they think the (Sinopharm) vaccine is dangerous and are not willing to take it, so we are organising another awareness campaign in which we will educate them on the need to take up the vaccine because we have high cases of coronavirus in the mining town,” Ganya
He said the US$12 billion mining industry by 2030 vision would not be realised if COVID-19 was not tamed.
Social worker Lisa Gowero said artisanal miners were more vulnerable to the coronavirus.
To date, 1 514 people have succumbed to COVID-19 and 71 of them are from the mineral-rich Midlands province.