Zimbabwe has received its first 200,000 doses of the Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine, donated by China.
The consignment arrived on Monday morning in a Air Zimbabwe flight and was handed over to the government by the Chinese ambassador to the country. An additional 600,000 doses ordered by the Zimbabwean government are expected to arrive in March.
The health ministry tweeted the moment the plane carrying the vaccines landed:
The BBC’s Shingai Nyoka in Harare says that the number of new coronavirus cases and deaths has fallen by more than 90% after six weeks of lockdown, which is due to end on Monday. President Emmerson Mnangagwa is set to address the nation.
Three cabinet ministers have died from the virus that has infected 35,172 people so far, according to data from the health ministry. Zimbabwe neighbours South Africa where a coronavirus variant has caused an increase in cases.
South Africa halted vaccination with the AstraZeneca jab after a small-scale study suggested it had low efficacy against the variant in the country.
But the World Health Organization’s vaccine experts have said that even countries that have the coronavirus mutation first discovered in South Africa should continue to use the AstraZeneca vaccine. The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) also recommends it.