Zimbabwean Vice President Constantino Chiwenga (front), who is also the country's minister of Health and Child Care, speaks during a handover ceremony of China-donated vaccines at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport in Harare, Zimbabwe, on Sept. 26, 2021. Zimbabwe on Sunday received the fourth batch of Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine doses from China. (Photo by Chen Yaqin/Xinhua)
HARARE, Sept. 26 (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe on Sunday received the fourth batch of Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine doses from China.
Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe Guo Shaochun handed over the consignment to Zimbabwean Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, who is also the country's minister of Health and Child Care, at Harare's Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport.
Speaking after the vaccine handover, Chiwenga expressed gratitude to China for supporting Zimbabwe's fight against COVID-19.
"Since the devastating pandemic was first reported in this country on March 20, 2020, the People's Republic of China has been generously providing both technical and material assistance," he said. "The government of Zimbabwe is grateful for the kind gesture by the leadership and the government of the People's Republic of China to complement our efforts towards attaining herd immunity."
Chiwenga said the donations were a testament to the cordial relations between the two countries, adding that China continues to support Zimbabwe in a world characterized by disparities in accessing vaccines, premised by countries focusing on their own populations.
Speaking on the same occasion, Guo reassured China's commitment in making vaccines a global public good.
"China is serious about building a community with a shared future for mankind. China is committed to the common values of humanity, including peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy and freedom," he said.
Zimbabwe has so far received four batches of vaccine doses from China since the start of the vaccination program in February.
Slightly over 3 million Zimbabweans have received one dose of the vaccine, while more than 2.1 million people -- about 15 percent of the country's population of 14 million -- are now fully vaccinated.
This makes Zimbabwe one of the highly vaccinated countries in Africa.
The arrival of the latest batch comes as authorities are aggressively pushing for the public to get vaccinated following a drop in daily vaccinations.
Earlier this month, the government announced that unvaccinated civil servants have up to Oct. 15 to be vaccinated after which they will not be allowed to report for duty.
The country has already made it mandatory for people to get vaccinated to go to markets, gyms, restaurants and university exams, with some private companies also making it mandatory for their employees to be vaccinated.
To date, Zimbabwe had registered 129,505 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 121,128 recoveries and 4,603 deaths. Enditem