Zimbabwean information minister Monica Mutsvangwa on Friday called on the corporate sector to provide more personal protective equipment to local journalists, noting that they are part of the frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
She made the call after receiving a donation of PPEs to journalists by a local funeral insurance company, Nyaradzo Group.
“The media plays a crucial role in the fight against COVID-19 and it has been designated as an essential service.
“Issues of safety and protection of the media against COVID-19 during the course of their work can not be taken lightly. As I welcome this gesture of Nyaradzo Group, I call on other corporates to dig deeper and do even more for our journalists,” the minister said.
Zimbabwe’s media fraternity is one of the sectors to bear the brunt of the pandemic, as it has lost a number of prominent journalists since the onset of the pandemic last March.
“These men and women are providing vital information to our nation about COVID-19. The media has been working tirelessly to promote reliable information and combat misinformation that is usually spread via social media by some unscrupulous individuals,” Mutsvangwa said.
The Chinese embassy in Zimbabwe also donated face masks to media houses and at least 35 practicing journalists in Mashonaland West province last week.
The donation is expected to protect journalists working on the frontline to help disseminate COVID-19 information.
The Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) Mashonaland West chapter sourced the masks.
Zimbabwe, which is in the middle of a six-week national lockdown until Feb. 15, has witnessed a sharp rise in COVID -19 infections and deaths since the beginning of the year.
However, over the past two weeks, the country has been recording a gradual decrease in daily new infections and deaths.
As of Thursday, the country had recorded a cumulative total of 34, 171 COVID-19 cases, including 27,759 recoveries and 1,288 deaths.
The country’s recovery rate, which had plummeted to around 55 percent in early January, has now risen to 81.2 percent.