HARARE, Feb. 4 (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwean Vice President Constantino Chiwenga on Thursday thanked China for donating COVID-19 vaccine doses to Zimbabwe.
China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said Monday that Zimbabwe will be among the first three African countries to receive the COVID-19 vaccines from China, alongside 11 other developing countries.
The other African countries to receive the vaccines are Sierra Leone and Equatorial Guinea.
Speaking at commemorations to mark World Cancer Day, Chiwenga, who is also the health minister, said the kind gesture from China will boost Zimbabwe's fight against the pandemic.
"We welcome and are very grateful to the People's Republic of China for their donation of the COVID-19 vaccine to Zimbabwe.
"The landmark gesture will achieve a milestone in combating the pandemic," he said.
He added that the Zimbabwean government will roll out COVID-19 vaccines for free to citizens who wish to be vaccinated.
The policy, he said, is inspired by humane morals that "life should not be bought."
The Zimbabwean government says it has so far raised 100 million U.S. dollars for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccine doses to inoculate at least 60 percent of the country's population.
Chiwenga said the government had embarked on a deliberate program to acquire more COVID-19 vaccines.
Zimbabwe has been recording an upward trend in COVID-19 cases and deaths since the beginning of the year, as the nation grapples with a second wave of the pandemic.
As of Wednesday, the country had recorded 33,964 cases of COVID-19 and 1,269 deaths, while a total of 27,391 people have recovered from the virus.