Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa has warned the country’s citizens that they risk losing all the early gains the country had made in combatting the COVID-19 pandemic if they continued disregarding the containment measures put in place by his administration.

Mnangagwa called for added responsibility during the festive season and warned against unnecessary travel and large gatherings.

Zimbabwe has experienced a sudden spike in coronavirus infections since the beginning of December raising fears the country might not cope with the second wave because of its poor health delivery system and a highly disgruntled healthcare workforce.

Zimbabwe has to date recorded 12 151 confirmed cases, including 9 984 recoveries and 318 deaths.

Mnangagwa says monitoring visits by the inter-ministerial task force and others have clearly shown that most people, institutions and the general public, are no longer strictly adhering to recommended preventative measures.

“Such complacency and recklessness are therefore a big concern to us all. We have come a long way and made good progress together yet the danger of losing all the gains made so far is staring us in the face with new cases on the increase, mostly due to the complacency we are witnessing in our communities. Zimbabwe can not afford to lose this COVID-19 battle simply because some individuals are not adhering to preventive measures. While a vaccine is the ultimate preventative measure, it is not available to us just yet,” says Mnangagwa.

He says preparations for the deployment of a vaccine, once approved, are in progress guided by two national preparedness assessments conducted in October and November 2020.

Zimbabwe will only roll out vaccines that have been analysed and found to be effective and safe for its population, he added.

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