By Sindiso Dube
Four members of a Bulawayo family have told of how they survived Covid-19 after battling the infection for a month.
On April 13, the first member of the family, a nurse who became known as Case 16, tested positive after she came into contact with Ian Hyslop, the first person to die of Covid-19 in the city while he was admitted at Mater Dei Hospital.
The nurse’s entire family tested positive and they became cases 16, 19, 20, 21 and 22. Case 19 became the youngest person to be infected with the disease in Zimbabwe at the age of three.
The family was confined to their Hillcrest home until four of them were cleared of the disease on May 24. Their mother is still infected with the coronavirus and is in self-quarantine.
When The Standard visited their home last week, the family members were busy with household chores like feeding chickens while maintaining social distance of a minimum of three metres from their mother who is still infected.
The mother has since moved from the main house and lives in a room outside and uses the bathroom outside in a bid to curb the spread of the novel virus.
Case number 21, who is 35 years old and a daughter of case number 16, said although they were happy that they were healed of the disease, life was still to get back to normal for them.
“It was on May 24, around about 5pm, when we were declared negative, I was excited and my children were very excited and the next day I went out to the outer yard to sweep because it was last cleaned on April 13 when I tested positive and a neighbour stared at me like I was doing something wrong,” she said.
“I was struck with fear and since that incident I can’t go out anymore and considering that my mom is still positive, it is very painful.
“I know the pain she is going through because she has to keep a minimum of three metres from us and she is staying in the room outside the main house.
“We have the freedom of going outside and doing stuff, but we haven’t used the opportunity.
“My daughters also haven’t been out playing with other kids, they are scared of being asked many questions and also being stigmatised.
“I am happy that we were cleared and I am praying that my mom be cleared as well and then we can be happy again,” said Case number 21.
She said her three-year-old daughter was still traumatised by the illness.
“When she is playing alone with her dolls she takes small stalks of grass and pokes a doll’s nose and screams ‘doctor don’t do this, it’s painful’ as she cries on their behalf (imitating the Covid-19 test she had to endure),” the woman recounted.
“These are signs of mental trauma, considering that my baby is only three years old.
“There is not much I can do, but to constantly tell her that all is okay now and the doctor won’t come back and do the painful swab tests.
Case number 21, a student with a Gweru-based institution, said that she was looking forward to going back to college, but hopes attitudes towards people that were infected with the coronavirus will change.
Last Wednesday the family celebrated case 16’s birthday.
She said they used home remedies such as steaming and lemon juice to fight the symptoms.