Zimbabwe has raised $100 million for the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines as the southern African country struggles to contain the second wave of the pandemic which has already claimed more lives this year than the whole of last year.
In a statement to the press, Finance Secretary George Guvamatanga said, the southern African country has managed to mobilise the required vaccination funding up to $100 million.
“We managed to mobilise through various structures up to $100 million for procurement of vaccines,” said Guvamatanga.
He said the money will allow the country to inoculate about 60% of its population estimated to be around 15 million people.
He said Treasury was now awaiting the decision on which vaccine to procure and the source.
“As Treasury, we are ready with the funding and the funding structure worth $100 million to make sure that we procure the vaccines and save the lives of Zimbabweans.
Guvamatanga’s statement comes as Zimbabwe extended its current lockdown by another two weeks to the 15th of February to combat the spread of the pandemic which has now affected more people than the first.
At the end of last year, Zimbabwe had 13,867 confirmed cases 363 deaths, prompting government to open up the economy and borders.
But a second wave came soon after the festive season and confirmed cases have increased to 32 952 and 1 178 deaths as of 29 January 2021.
Rising cases forced President Mnangagwa to impose another level 4 lockdown from the 5th of January to the end of the month.
This has since been extended by another two weeks up to the 15th of February.
Level 4 national lockdown measures bar all nonessential service providers from operating.
In announcing the extension, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, who doubles as the Minister of Health, said the lockdown though damaging to the economy was necessary as it “saves lives.”
He said government will soon be bringing in vaccines against Covid-19.
“A roll out plan and deployment strategy is being finalised. The nation will be kept informed on all these developments,” said VP Chiwenga who is currently the Acting President after President Mnangagwa took his annual break.
Lockdown taking toll on business
The extension of lockdown measures come at a time when the business community was already calling on government to look at ways to prop-up activities in the local economy to boost aggregate demand.
Business activity is low, especially in the informal sector which in turn has affected demand and production, according to industry’s biggest representative body the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI).
“There is need to relook at some of the lockdown restrictions, especially on the curfew requirement to extend business operating hours.”