- Zimbabwe recorded its first coronavirus case a year ago, a resident of Victoria Falls. Although patient zero recovered, the country has registered more than 1,500 COVID-19-related deaths and nearly 38,000 infections since last March.
By Mutsa Makuvaza
ZIMBABWE’S newest city and most marketable tourism destination Victoria Falls has now achieved herd immunity as the fight against the coronavirus continues unabated.
President Mnangagwa made the announcement Monday morning on his social media platforms.
“Victoria Falls has now achieved herd immunity. Last month, I received my first COVID-19 vaccine in Victoria Falls. I am immensely proud that over 77% of the city’s inhabitants have received their second jab.
“Thank you to all the health officials who have made this possible,” he said.
Herd immunity is a form of indirect protection from infectious disease that can occur with some diseases when a sufficient percentage of a population has become immune to an infection, whether through vaccination or previous infections, thereby reducing the likelihood of infection for individuals who lack immunity.
Zimbabwe recorded its first coronavirus case a year ago, a resident of Victoria Falls. Although patient zero recovered, the country has registered more than 1,500 COVID-19-related deaths and nearly 38,000 infections since last March.
With a strict national lockdown enforced, tourist activities in the resort town, as in many other places across the country, were shut down for months on end. However, the advent of the country’s vaccination drive using Chinese jabs means that restrictions have since eased.
Launched on February 18, the first phase of the campaign targeted some 60,000 healthcare and other front-line workers.
In March this year, President Mnangagwa took his first shot of the Sinovac vaccine to launch the second phase of the vaccination programme that is intended for the elderly, teachers, religious leaders, people with critical illnesses – and all adult residents of Victoria Falls, a city of some 110,000 people.
In a symbolic move aimed at promoting tourism recovery, Mnangagwa travelled to Victoria Falls to get his first shot, then got the second jab in Kwekwe last week.
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, more than 350,000 people each year trekked to the Zimbabwean side of the waterfall to see one of the world’s natural wonders.
Since then, residents of the tourism-dependent town have been forming snaking queues outside public hospitals and clinics, waiting for their turn to get their first dose of the vaccine. – Zimbabwe Voice and Agencies ■