Korean Gvt Donates US$350K Worth Of COVID-19 Test Kits To Zimbabwe

…As India Fifth Tranche of medicines arrive in the country

THE government of the Republic of Korea has donated COVID-19 test kits valued at US$350,000 towards Zimbabwe’s COVID-19 response as part of Korea’s commitment to

By Michael Gwarisa

Speaking at the handover ceremony at State House in the Capital Harare, Zimbabwe President, Emerson Mngangagwa said the Korean government has been assisting Zimbabwe’s health sector in many ways especially under the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic.

On behalf of government and the people of Zimbabwe and my own behalf, let me sincerely express my deep appreciation and gratitude for the donation which you have extended to Zimbabwe. I am aware that this is not your first time to make a donation on Zimbabwe both in relation to the fight against COVID-19 but also in other areas you have on behalf of the Republic of Korea shown compassion, brotherhood and friendly relations between our two countries by coming to our assistance in many areas be it education, agriculture, commerce and industry.

“We are happy as Zimbabwe that our relations continue to grow from strength to strength and today despite the fact that Republic of Korea initially suffered from the impact of COVID-19 but your government rose top the challenge and within a short period, you were able to bring down he transmission of the COVID-19 in your population. I am aware again that there has been a resurgence but you had the capacity to deal with the resurgence in your country. Despite that challenge, you have been able to think of us Zimbabwe,” said President Mngangagwa.

Republic of Korea Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Ambassador DO Bong-kae said the COVID-19 pandemic needed global collaborations and solidarity and  no one was strong enough to fight it alone hence their assistance to Zimbabwe.

“The COVID-19 Pandemic is a global crisis that impacts every country and in this pandemic situation, we understand that global solidarity is most needed to overcome global challenges.

“In this regard, the government of the republic of Korea is pleased to provide Zimbabwe with COVID-19 test kits valued at US$300,000 to help strengthen the government of the republic of Zimbabwe’s national response toward the pandemic through the partnership with the World Health Organisation (WHO),” said Ambassador DO Bong-kae.

Korea’s consignment consists of aBiosensor STANDARD M nCoV Real-Time Detection kit 275 kits (26, 400 tests) and SD Biosensor STANDARD M SPIN-X Viral RNA Extraction kit 264 kits (26,400 tests), The test kits and extraction kits are worth USD $287,239.48 and the kits are being handed over to the Government of Zimbabwe from KIOCA (Korea International Cooperation Agency) through the South Korean Embassy.

The kits are meant to augment the national COVID-19 testing strategy and improve testing capacity for the benefit of the majority of Zimbabwean. These donated test and extraction kits are important in the Zimbabwe COVID-19 response as they strengthen the national COVID-19 testing capacity. The framework falls under WHO Health Emergencies (WHE) in the Operations Support and Logistics. Our role as a consignee was to facilitate the receipt, duty free certificates handling and storage of the commodities pending final delivery.

“The government of the Republic of Korea believes today’s donation is the concrete example of Korea’s strong partnership and solidarity with the government and people of Zimbabwe. Korea’s donation also contributes to Zimbabwe’s public health response to the pandemic and paves way for further collaboration between our two countries

“The government of the Republic of Korea also knows that the Korean people are participating in mobilizing the Global Disease Eradication Fund (GDEF) to help the global efforts to stop the spread of infectious diseases in 2020. Through this fund, Korea supports UNICEF’S project to achieve elimination of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV in three African countries including Zimbabwe. I would like to note that Zimbabwe has recently kept Coronavirus infections relatively low compared with other neighboring countries. I acknowledge much the work of the COVID-19 taskforce of Zimbabwe.”

Meanwhile, India Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr Runsung Masakui said despite his country having experienced a high COVID-19 infections, they have managed to channels some of their resources towards Zimbabwe’s COVID-19 fight.

“I am very happy that the fifth tranche consignment of medicines from India has arrived in the country for donation to the government and the people of Zimbabwe. The consignment we have received has 17 critical cold chain items of medicines which are not only specific to COVID-19 but which are critical and essential to meet the requirement of the people of Zimbabwe with a total value of US$350,000. I am particularly happy to mention here that despite a staggering number of COVID-19 cases in India, to date confirmed crossing 7 million, with 115 000 deaths, and a recovery rate of 89%, we continue to battle against this deadly disease with our limited resources.

“In recent weeks, I am happy to inform also your excellency that India has witnessed a huge decline in infections and I hope this declining rate will continue. I would like to reiterate that even as India struggles under the situation, our Prime Minister firmly believes and is committed supporting of our friendly countries as this fight calls for global cooperation,” said Ambassador

He added that in India attention has also been shifted towards developing a vaccine in the fight against this pandemic and three major Indian manufacturing companies are already involved in vaccine trials with total capacity to produce 300 million doses in a month when it happens.

“They all are in the advanced stages of trials and when our vaccine trails are successful, we have taken a considerate view after keeping sufficient doses of our domestic requirement to share our vaccines with friendly countries especially in Asia and Africa on priority basis.”

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