Zimbabwe denies suspending WHO and UNICEF in COVID-19 programs

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MARONDERA, April 18, 2020 (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwean Vice President Constantino Chiwenga (3rd L) talks with local officials before visiting an isolation center in Marondera, Zimbabwe, April 17, 2020. The vice president visited the isolation center on Friday as part of his tour to assess isolation and treatment facilities in Mashonaland East Province. (Photo by Shaun Jusa/Xinhua)
MARONDERA, April 18, 2020 (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwean Vice President Constantino Chiwenga (3rd L) talks with local officials before visiting an isolation center in Marondera, Zimbabwe, April 17, 2020. The vice president visited the isolation center on Friday as part of his tour to assess isolation and treatment facilities in Mashonaland East Province. (Photo by Shaun Jusa/Xinhua)

The Zimbabwean has government refuted media reports that it had barred the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF from participating in the country’s COVID-19 programs.

In a statement issued through the Ministry of Health and Child Care late Friday, the government dismissed the report carried out in a local weekly newspaper on Friday as malicious and intended to cause alarm among citizens. “In addition, the ministry wishes to put it on record that no communication suspending either or both WHO and UNICEF, nor any other partners from participating in the national effort to curb the spread of the COVID-19 was ever made,” the government said. It also came at the same time a blog whose contents have since been fact-checked as mere fabrication had said that WHO sources had warned Zimbabwe against the use of the vaccine.

In separate interviews with state media, the two United Nations agencies also dismissed the report and said they enjoyed cordial relations with the government. WHO country representative Alex Gasasira told The Herald newspaper on Friday that Zimbabwe was one of the leading countries in following science and the prescribed guidelines in response to the pandemic. “Our relationship with the Government of Zimbabwe is a very professional relationship. As you may recall at different stages of this response, even before COVID-19 in all areas of health, the Government has really closely followed the guidance that WHO has been providing to member States. UNICEF Zimbabwe representative Laylee Moshiri also denied that her organization had been suspended from participating in COVID-19 programs.

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