China commends Zim’s Covid-19 response Defence and War Veterans Affairs Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri chats to Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe Guo Shaochun after receiving 100 000 Sinopharm vaccines donated by the People’s Liberation Army of China to the Zimbabwe Defence Forces while ZDF Commander General Philip Valerio Sibanda (right) looks on at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport in Harare yesterday

Mukudzei Chingwere

Herald Reporter

Zimbabwe has defied odds to mount a thorough and effective response to the Covid-19 pandemic and has managed to minimise the effects of the disease on its citizenry, the People’s Republic of China has said.

Across the globe more than three million people have died from Covid-19-related complications and in Zimbabwe figures have been kept low through a consolidated response framework with only just over 1 500 people dying.

Zimbabwe has been praised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for the way it has responded to the global pandemic and yesterday, the Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr Guo Shaochun, hailed the success recorded by the country in dealing with the global pandemic.

He was speaking at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport soon after Zimbabwe took delivery of 100 000 more doses of the Sinopharm vaccine donated to the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

The vaccine was granted emergency use authorisation by WHO this month, and the consignment handed to Zimbabwean authorities included 420 000 syringes.

Ambassador Guo said the donation came despite the fact that the pandemic was still on China’s doorstep and domestic demand for vaccines remained enormous.

“This is because both China and Zimbabwe understand the importance of mutual support in challenging times. Since the onset of the pandemic, Zimbabwe has been fighting as one. The military worked together with other frontline workers to implement crucial health guidelines.

“This explains why a country under illegal foreign sanctions is protecting its people more effectively than many better resourced nations,” said Ambassador Guo.

Defence and War Veterans Affairs Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri and Commander ZDF General Philip Valerio Sibanda received the doses.

Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri, who is also the chairperson of the ad hoc Inter-Ministerial Taskforce on Covid-19 said the donation would aid Zimbabwe’s quest to achieve herd immunity.

“The donation which comes at a time when the country’s vaccination programme has gathered momentum, will go a long a way in aiding the Government achieve its target of vaccinating at least 60 percent of the population in order to achieve the required herd immunity.

“The donation is yet another testimony of the ever growing cordial relations between China and Zimbabwe.

“Relations between China and Zimbabwe date back to Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle against the colonial domination by the racist Rhodesian regime with the Chinese supporting their Zimbabwean friends morally and technically,” said Minister Muchinguri.

“Allow me to thank the Chinese government for always being there for Zimbabwe and providing us with a shoulder to lean on during our times of trouble.

“We will forever cherish the mutually beneficial relationship that we enjoy with our Chinese friends.”

General Sibanda thanked the Chinese for the gesture: “I want to assure you your excellency that the donations that you have made to us and the previous donations that have come our way are going to be put to good use in our fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

“You may want to know that the Zimbabwe Defence Forces has so far vaccinated about 20 000 members and their dependants as well as members of the (Defence) Ministry,” said Gen Sibanda.

“This donation received today is going to go a long way in meeting our targets, hoping by the time we get to another two months from now, we would have doubled the figure that has been vaccinated.”

The latest consignment is the third batch of vaccines donated by President Xi Jinping’s administration to Zimbabwe and the country has also bought some vaccines from China.

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