Chinese firms donate medical supplies to Zimbabwe to fight COVID-19
State-owned Chinese companies operating in Zimbabwe on Friday made a donation of medical goods worth 55,000 U.S. dollars to help the country in its ongoing fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Operating under the banner of the Chamber of Chinese Enterprises in Zimbabwe, the companies donated medicines to Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals and surgical masks to various provinces, the Immigration Department and the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority.
The country's largest referral hospital, Parirenyatwa, received medicines worth 5,000 U.S. dollars, the Immigration Department got 40,000 surgical masks, Zimbabwe Revenue Authority 20,000 masks while Matabeleland South and Midlands Provinces each received 20,000 surgical masks.
The provinces are not only vulnerable to imported cases, but are among the most affected by COVID-19, along with the capital Harare and the second largest city of Bulawayo.
Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa received the medical goods at the State House.
He thanked the Chinese companies for the donation, saying the supplies will augment the country's efforts in mitigating the pandemic.
He said the support from China, among other donors, had helped to boost the country's capacity to respond to the pandemic.
He acknowledged that the country was ill-equipped to handle the disease when it first broke in March, but due to the early lockdown and support from China, it was now reasonably prepared.
"The first 21 days and second 14 days (of total lockdown) gave us reasonable time to prepare ourselves as a country to a reasonable level.
"When we felt we were reasonably prepared we then lowered the lockdown to Level 2 but most importantly we became reasonably prepared because of the support we received from our people, friends, organizations internally and externally and the People's Republic of China was among the first countries who sent in equipment to support our endeavor to fight the pandemic," he said.
China was also the first country to sent in a team to assist in capacitating the country's first isolation and treatment hospital in Harare to a reasonable standard, he said.
"We also had the fortune of a team of medical experts that was sent by the Chinese government to come and share their experiences with our own local medical teams here so our teams could benefit from those who had undergone the baptism of the pandemic in China. We are very grateful," Mnangagwa said.
He said the country was pleased that the influx of imported cases was coming at a time when the country was now reasonably prepared to handle such huge number of infections.
Chinese ambassador to Zimbabwe Guo Shaochun praised the Chinese companies for the donation, which he said showed their adherence to corporate social responsibility.
"Today's event is of great significance, demonstrating that China not only fully supports Zimbabwe from the government level, but our business sector is also dedicated to assisting our Zimbabwean brothers and sisters," he said.
He said the donation was well targeted as all the recipients whom were at the frontline of the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, noting that staff at the country's 30 border posts were taking great risks to protect the safety of Zimbabweans from COVID-19.
China is among the countries that continue to complement Zimbabwe's efforts in fighting the pandemic through various donations since the first case was recorded in the country in March.
Guo commended Zimbabwe's efforts in combating the pandemic, and added that China will always stand by the southern African country in its fight against the respiratory disease.
Although Zimbabwe has recorded a spike in imported COVID-19 cases over the past weeks, local transmission have remained relatively low.
Out of the 551 cases that had been recorded by Thursday, 77 are local transmissions. Deaths remain at six while recoveries are 128.
Chamber of Chinese Enterprises in Zimbabwe vice chairperson and publicity secretary Shanel Liu said her organization was delighted to make a modest contribution towards Zimbabwe's fight against the pandemic.
"We have learnt with great joy that local companies are currently increasing their production of quality face masks. And our donation is a supplement to ease the current urgent need. We hope it will go a long way in ensuring the safety of those in the frontline and the various communities that will benefit from this donation," she said. Enditem