PRESIDENT Mnangagwa has reassured Zimbabweans that the country will soon overcome the harsh phase of the Covid-19 pandemic, in a bold declaration of hope to a nation grappling with a deadly second wave of the contagion.
In an impassioned delivery themed around lending caution and hope to the nation at the State House, the President said the Government was finalising plans to roll out a mass vaccination programme.
Declaring that the Government would spare no resources to save Zimbabwean lives, President Mnangagwa likened the ongoing fight against the pandemic to a war situation, insisting that the country would eventually prevail.
He described the pandemic’s second wave as “grim harvest”, warning Zimbabweans that the virus was indiscriminate.
“The pandemic we thought was beginning to ease, has come back with a vengeance,” said the President.
“It has picked new strains which spread faster, are more aggressive, and about which more is yet to be known.
“The situation is very worrisome, and threatens to become dire,” he warned.
“There is hope, however.”
The President pointed to the marginally increasing recovery rate of Covid-19 patients as a source of hope.
“Our recovery rates are once more beginning to creep up.
“While we are facing increasing number of cases requiring hospitalisation and close professional care, there is scope for increasing our capacities to respond in order to cope with the likely upsurge.”
Zimbabwe was close to securing a vaccine as negotiations with countries that have developed immunisation jabs are at an advanced stage.
President Mnangagwa warned of more restrictions and deployment of additional law enforcement officers to clampdown on lockdown violations, if some Zimbabweans continued to ignore safety and preventative regulations introduced by the Government.
“On the ground, the lockdown is holding, with more and more Zimbabweans voluntarily taking measures that are necessary to protect themselves, their families, their friends and their fellow countrymen and countrywomen.
“Our law enforcement agencies are active, manning all key points.
“We are ready with more deployments, and ready to prescribe stronger measures, should that become necessary.
“The Government has and is engaging countries which have developed vaccines.
“Help and relief are on the way.
“Our experts who have been assessing different vaccines, are very close to finalising the course to recommend to our nation. A course which brings in relief, and which we will roll out across the length and breadth of our nation, so we do not lose more lives than has become inevitable.”
He said only vaccines that would have been proven safe and effective would be introduced in Zimbabwe.
The Government, said the President, was closely working with the private sector to pool resources needed to marshal a definitive national response.
Furthermore, the Government would spare no effort to protect frontline staff who were serving the nation well under challenging conditions.
“They are the heroes and heroines of our nation, and should receive priority protection so they in turn protect, you, me, all of us. Once we receive the vaccine — and it will be quite soon — they will be the first ones to be inoculated.”
The novel coronavirus, said President Mnangagwa, was indiscriminate, with no regard to age, status or political affiliation.
“Zimbabweans from all walks of
life, all stations, all tribes, all races, all regions, have succumbed to it.
“We have lost loved ones; we have lost Ministers of Government and officials.
“We have lost more, across the political divide. The danger we face, meets us as Zimbabweans, whatever our station, colour, creed or politics.
“Today, we are united in grief and in facing this overbearing danger. There are no spectators, adjudicators, no ‘holier than thou’, no super men or women.”
The Head of State and Government called for unity among Zimbabweans as the fight against the virus entered a new and uncharted phase.
Zimbabweans, he said, had overcome countless adversities since independence and these had been overcome through collective determination.
President Mnangagwa called on Zimbabweans to exhibit “collective determination and a shared sense of common purpose” to turn the tide against the pandemic.
Zimbabweans needed to replicate their transcendental unity and common purpose which led to the defeat of the colonial regime during the liberation struggle.
“Come to think of it, some forty years ago, we were not even a nation,” he said.
“Before then, we were in the throes of a vicious war for our national Independence.
“We lived and took each day at a time, all looked desperate, yet here we are today, a free people and a free nation.
“Yes, we overcame, thanks to our unity, collective determination and a shared sense of common purpose. Yes, we triumphed, the same way we will triumph yet again.”
He said the pandemic was a new kind of war which required the same kind of unity.
“Now is the time to strengthen that unity, determination and shared sense of purpose.
“We face a new kind of war, but a war nevertheless.
“We face a new enemy, but a common enemy nevertheless.
“As before, we summon that inner resource, individually and collectively, to yet again win the war, vanquish the enemy.”
Substantive announcements on measures to contain the second wave would be made soon.
The President expressed his heartfelt condolences to Zimbabweans who have lost loved ones to the deadly virus.