Only vaccines can make life return to normalcy – Zimbabwean president

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa addresses a press conference in Harare, capital of Zimbabwe, March 17, 2020. In an update to the nation on Tuesday, Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa declared COVID-19 a national disaster, saying that the country had escalated its national response to the virus after neighboring countries in the region had reported cases. (Xinhua/Shaun Jusa)

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Thursday said life can only return to normalcy once the majority of the population has been inoculated against COVID-19.

“Life can only return to normality once the majority of Zimbabweans have been vaccinated. This is the ultimate goal,” he said on his official Twitter handle. Mnangagwa also expressed gratitude to China and Russia for donating vaccines to Zimbabwe.

“Thank you to both China and Russia for their donation of COVID-19 vaccines to the people of Zimbabwe. Your generosity during this dark time will not be forgotten,” he said. China has listed Zimbabwe among the first three African countries that will get free doses of the Chinese vaccine.

The donation of 200,000 Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccines is expected in Zimbabwe by Feb. 15, while the first batch of the 600,000 vaccines the country purchased from China is expected to arrive early next month.

The southern African country of 16 million people has also purchased an unspecified amount of Russia’s Sputnik vaccine, while India had also donated vaccines to the country. A total of 100 million U.S. dollars has been set aside to procure COVID-19 vaccines.

The country has already finalized a vaccine deployment strategy that would see at least 9 million people, about 60 percent of the population being inoculated.

Zimbabwe has so far reported 34,864 confirmed cases of the virus and 1,364 deaths, the majority of which have been recorded since the beginning of this year.

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