Zimbabwe is still on track as the number of active coronavirus cases continues to drop though deaths are still high.
It recorded 19 deaths, 207 new cases and 368 recoveries today bringing the total number of deaths so far to 1 288, that of cases to 34 171 and recoveries to 27 759.
Active cases are down to 5 124 with Harare having 1 968, Manicaland 755 and Matebeleland North 526. Active cases in Bulawayo increased slightly to 431.
The seven-day rolling average is down from 237 yesterday to 217 while the recovery rte has risen from 80.6% to 81.2%.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa today said Zimbabwe is ready for a Covid-19 vaccine rollout, which will be administered free of charge with health workers being the top priority.
In his address to the nation, he said a national vaccine framework, targeting 60 percent of the population at the initial stage, had been finalised.
“Covid-19 vaccines which have been scientifically ascertained to be safe will soon be introduced. These will be state funded and free,” he said.
“A national vaccine deployment framework has been finalised. The initial objective is to inoculate at least 60 percent of the population to achieve population immunity.”
Funds had been put aside to acquire adequate vaccines on top of those that the country will access through the World Health Organisation (WHO), as well as a donation of 200 000 doses of the Chinese vaccine.
He did not, however, specify which specific vaccine the country would be using from the available choices.
“We applaud China for taking a leading role in contributing to our national vaccine deployment strategy and for its consistent human policy of keeping Covid-19 vaccines as global public goods,” Mnangagwa said.
Frontline workers, the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions will get top priority, he said.
Even as the population gets inoculated, the vaccines did not offer 100 percent protection, Mnangagwa said, urging the nation to continue observing WHO protocols such as masking and social distancing.
The President said the country had largely survived the first wave of the virus through unity of purpose which resulted in low infections and deaths, but this had not been the case with the second wave.
He said Zimbabwe will emerge stronger, despite all the challenges it has faced from economic to droughts, cyclones and now, Covid-19.
Government remained optimistic about prospects for economic growth this year on the back of a stable economic environment and exchange rate and good rains the country had received which will boost agriculture production.- Own/New Ziana