President Mnangagwa today said pandemics like coronavirus (Covid-19) cannot be blamed on anyone since they have a scientific explanation, and called on Zimbabweans to empathise with those affected.
In a statement, the President sent his condolences and solidarity to all those who were already suffering due to the effects of the deadly virus.
“Pandemics of this kind have a scientific explanation and knows no boundary, and like any other natural phenomenon cannot be blamed on anyone,” he said.
“We have all witnessed the tragic scenes in China, Iran, Italy and other countries around the world. We stand with our friends in the international community. My Government empathises with the affected people around the globe and stands ready to assist in whatever ways within our capacity.”
The President’s statement comes in the wake of remarks by Defence and War Veterans Affairs Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri who at the weekend insinuated that COVID-19 was God’s response to countries that imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe.
Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri was speaking at a Zimbabwe National Liberation War Collaborators Association meeting in Chinhoyi on Saturday.
She said in Shona: “This coronavirus that has come are sanctions against the countries that have imposed sanctions on us. God is now punishing them now and they are staying indoors now, while their economy is screaming like what they did to ours by imposing sanctions on us.
“Trump should know that he is not God. They must face the consequences of coronavirus, so that they also feel the pain.”
President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe stands by the international community in fighting the Covid-19, and that it was time to look after each other, especially the weak and vulnerable.
He said even though the virus was yet to strike in Zimbabwe, it was important not to “rest on our laurels”.
COVID-19, said the President, was the worst global pandemic, and perhaps the greatest threat to humanity since the great wars of the last century.
“My Government empathises with the affected people around the globe and stands ready to assist in whatever ways within our capacity. As a nation we must stand strong. Strong and united. Strong and vigilant. We must act early and we must act sensibly.”
President Mnangagwa said Government was working to ensure doctors and nurses had the necessary know-how and equipment to deal with the Covid-19 threat.
He advised people to seek early treatment if they developed symptoms of the virus. Covid-19 has claimed more than 6 000 people worldwide, after it was first noticed in China’s Wuhan city in December last year.
He repeated the medical advice given around the world and in Zimbabwe. “If you have a cough, a sore throat, a temperature, or if you feel unwell please stay away from crowds, please stay away from the elderly, and if you can, stay at home until all symptoms have disappeared. Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly and maintain best hygiene practices.”
He noted that Zimbabweans have suffered the effects of climate change, struggled through economic downturns and have faced many challenges.
“As we all work to build a new Zimbabwe and a new future, let us start by getting the basics right. Protect your health. Protect your families. Protect your people. God bless you all.”