Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Saturday urged all Zimbabweans to be vaccinated against COVID-19, saying that this was the only way to conquer the pandemic.
Addressing mourners at the burial of national hero Moses Mpofu at the National Heroes Acre, Mnangagwa said the vaccines which Zimbabwe had received from China earlier during the week were safe and an effective antidote against COVID-19.
Vaccinations, however, remain voluntary.
"All of us, including myself as the President, Cabinet Ministers and all officials will be vaccinated. So should you, my dear Zimbabweans, if we are to protect ourselves, our families and our nation," he said.
This would be the only way for the country to return to normalcy with children going back to school and businesses re-opening.
Schools have been closed for almost a year now, with only examination classes being allowed to complete their programs.
Zimbabwe received 200,000 doses of vaccines from China last Monday and Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, who is also the health minister, became the first Zimbabwean to be inoculated locally.
Mnangagwa once again thanked the Chinese government for donating the vaccines, saying that this was a gesture of humanity.
"Let me once again thank the Chinese government for supporting our fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The global demand for vaccines is enormous, yet the People's Republic of China put Zimbabwe ahead of many countries and nations," said Mnangagwa. "We are truly thankful. We're equally thankful to Russia, India and the United Kingdom. We applaud this gesture of great humanity and show of solidarity."
As of Feb 19, the country had recorded 35,710 COVID-19 cases and 1,430 deaths.
Mnangagwa early in the week extended a national lockdown by two more weeks, saying that COVID-19 infections and related deaths were still too high.