Zimbabwe’s Mnangagwa thanks China for Covid vaccine help

President Emmerson Mnangagwa, pictured, who replaced long-time ruler Robert Mugabe in July ©Getty Images

HARARE – Vaccines from China which are expected to arrive early morning today will provide the much-needed relief in the fight against  the deadly Covid-19 pandemic, President Mnangagwa said.

The President will officially receive 200 000 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine from China at the State House in Harare and also address the nation on the way forward regarding the lockdown.

The Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Guo Shaochum will official present the vaccines to the President at State House.

Last week, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said in addition to 200 000 donations from the Chinese Government, Zimbabwe had also purchased 600 000 jabs from the same country.

The vaccines will cover 100 000 people with each one expected to receive two.

Frontline workers, the elderly and those with underlying health conditions will get first treatment as Government starts the programme that is meant to ensure every citizen is covered at no cost.

In his message to China,  President Mnangagwa expressed the nation’s gratitude for the Covid 19 vaccine donation that he said has brought hope in tackling the disease.

The President said this in a congratulatory message to China on the occasion of its New Year that was commemorated on Friday.

The lunar calendar outlines the 12-year repeating cycle of the Chinese zodiac. 

Each year is named after an animal and 2021 is the Year of the Ox.

According to Chinese culture, oxen are a sign of honesty, diligence, strength and dependability.

“Our dear friends of China, these vaccines are certainly providing a new light of positivity to the people of Zimbabwe in these tough times — a light at the end of a dark tunnel.

“We are most grateful for this life-saving gesture.

“From our people to yours — thank you to my dear brother President Xi Jinping — and thank you to all the people of China,” President Mnangagwa said.

He said that China had been a reliable friend to Zimbabwe in times of need.

Turning to the Chinese New Year, President Mnangagwa said it was appropriate that it was named “The Year of the Ox”.

He said just like an ox, the Chinese were hardworking and dependable.

“As the world strives to get back to work — to get back on its feet — we can take a leaf out of the ox’s book. 

“Like the ox in the field we must knuckle down and work hard — work with humility, modesty and drive. Now is not the time to seek praise or glory, but to toil and seek a new and better era for all,” the President said.

Presidential spokesperson Mr George Charamba told The Chronicle yesterday that today’s double-barrelled event will see President Mnangagwa officially receiving the vaccines from the Chinese Ambassador Mr Shaochum and then addressing the nation on the way forward in terms of the lockdown.

“The vaccines will arrive tomorrow at 3am and a formal presentation to the His Excellency at the State House will then follow. While we are not ignoring the concern around Covid-19, our major focus will obviously be on how we are a step higher in terms of rolling out the vaccine programme,” said Mr Charamba. 

“Readers should be alive to fact that while the vaccine will lessen the strength of the virus, it does not render one immune, we still need to up our game in terms of masking up, washing hands and keeping social distancing 

“You will see the tempo changing even in terms of public communication, we will now be focusing on the vaccine roll-out. We also need to address the issue of roll-out in respect of teachers as that has a bearing on schoolchildren and the calendar.

“It is an issue that we need to debate and then get guidance from experts as a matter of urgency as we have thousands upon thousands who are just at home, those who are fortunate are doing online learning.” – Herald