A shipment of 30 000 critically needed PCR testing kits used for diagnosis of Covid-19, worth millions of US dollars arrived in Harare yesterday morning as a gift from the Communist Party of China, Chinese industries and the Chinese enterprises based in Zimbabwe.
The kits arrived as the Zimbabwean Covid-19 total reached 985 confirmed cases with 328 recoveries and 18 deaths as of yesterday.
The PCR test is used to make and confirm diagnosis, with the rapid results test used for screening those who need to then have a PCR test.
There is a global shortage of test kits and the shipment yesterday aboard a Chinese cargo plane at the Robert Mugabe International Airport will allow Zimbabwe to continue testing the rising numbers who need the tests.
The shipment was received by acting Minister of Health and Child Care Professor Amon Murwira, his deputy Dr John Mangwiro, permanent Secretary Dr Gibson Mhlanga, Chinese Deputy Ambassador to Zimbabwe Zhao Baogang, Chinese Embassy staff members and senior Government officials.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic in Zimbabwe, China has donated anti-Covid-19 medical supplies to Zimbabwe, including equipment, masks, testing kits and help to refurbish treatment facilities.
Professor Murwira commended the gesture from the Chinese Government saying the kits would help expedite the testing of coronavirus amid a spike in the number of cases.
“We have just received 30 000 PCR testing kits from China. Since testing is one of the main pillars in trying to contain the spread of the Coronavirus, we take this very great pleasure to thank the Government of the People’s Republic of China and the Chinese people.”
In May this year, a 12-member Chinese medical team of experienced experts in management of Covid-19 arrived in the country with a consignment of test kits and protective gear to help Zimbabwe respond effectively to the pandemic.
He said the relationship between the two countries went back to the liberation struggle.
“This friendship is a practical gesture towards the containment of the Covid-19 pandemic. We will never take it for granted. This is great. We will continue cooperating with China. This is the most practical way of friendship expression.’’
Prof Murwira warned Zimbabweans against complacency towards the pandemic saying the country was witnessing an increase in cases.
“Zimbabweans should never think that the crisis is over. We are facing an unprecedented increase in the number of cases. What that means is that Government can do the best it can, but at the end of the day the individual citizens have to take heed that these issues have become very personal.
“We should take this as a personal war against Covid-19,” he said.
The donation comes after President Mnangagwa last week noted with concern the sharp increases in the number of positive cases.
Prof Murwira also warned Zimbabweans against the tendencies of relaxing their guard.
“It’s very important that all the potential tendencies to relax should stop. We are in danger and this should be seen through how we react,” he said.
Speaking at the same occasion, Chinese Deputy Ambassador to Zimbabwe Zhao Baogang said the Chinese Government was trying its best to help Zimbabwe.
He commended President Mnangagwa for his putting maximum effort towards the fight against the pandemic.
“Zimbabwe under the leadership of President Mnangagwa has done an excellent job. President Mnangagwa is trying his best to contain the spread of the virus.
“This donation is from the Communist Party of China, the Chinese industries and the Chinese enterprises based in Zimbabwe.”
China was committed to assisting Zimbabwe especially in difficult times. The two countries, he said, help each other in times of need.
“We hope with the joint efforts we can overcome all the difficulties and defeat coronavirus,” said the Deputy Ambassador said.