President Emmerson Mnangagwa has praised the City of Victoria Falls for achieving herd immunity in the vaccination exercises.
Posting on his official Twitter handle yesterday, President Mnangagwa commended the achievement adding that 77 percent of Victoria Falls citizens had received their second jab.
“Victoria Falls has now achieved herd immunity. Last month I received my first Covid-19 vaccine in Victoria Falls. I am immensely proud that over 77 percent of the city’s inhabitants have received their second jab. Thank you to all the health officials who have made this possible,” he said.
However in different interviews, health and tourism authorities said herd immunity is the restoration that Victoria Falls needed in the wake of the devastating Covid-19.
More so, Matabeleland North Provincial Medical Director, Dr Munekai Padingani said herd immunity in Victoria Falls means low risk of the spread of the virus as chances of infection will be limited.
“Our target was to vaccinate 25 000 people and as of Tuesday last week when the second dose started, more than 19 000 had received their first dose. We are vaccinating people on a daily basis as we don’t turn any eligible person away and some are still getting their first dose hence figures will keep changing.
“This means we are going to reduce transmission in Victoria Falls but we are not saying let’s stop wearing masks and practicing social distancing among other regulations. This is a tourism destination and we will continue with infection control measures but we are assured that the majority will not be infected, and since everyone who comes into the country should have negative PCR certificate, these means that tourists will know they are coming to a very safe place,” said Dr Padingani.
Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe Victoria Falls chapter chair, Mr Anald Musonza commended residents for taking the lead insisting that this will encourage revival of inbound tourism.
He appealed to Government to complement the achievement by reopening inland borders since a majority of the country’s tourists come by road.
“As operators we are also appealing to Central Government to reopen land borders so we can have more people coming through and allow access across various tourist destinations in Zimbabwe.” He said.
Mr Musonza said most regional tourists use land borders like Victoria Falls and Kazungula which are closed thereby affecting the self-drive market.
He also praised the Vic Falls Herd immunity attainment saying it was a positive outcome for the tourism industry.
“That Victoria Falls has achieved herd immunity is a welcome development for our tourism capital of Southern Africa. This is an encouraging development which shows how united we are as a people and destination but we would want our business to be revived hence we are expecting that tourists start coming through in big numbers because it is the only way we can resume business,” said Musonza.
Government is targeting to attain 60 percent herd immunity of the country’s population as it seeks to break the Covid-19 cycle and revive the different sectors of industry which had been affected by the pandemic.