Former U.S. ambassador Charles Ray warns Zimbabwe may be in “big trouble” over rising COVID-19 cases

Written by Kristi Pelzel in Washington D.C. and Lindsey O’Neal in Florida

A former U.S. ambassador, Charles Ray, has expressed concerns over Zimbabwe’s ability to manage another peak in COVID-19 cases. 

Mr. Ray is a former US Ambassador to the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Republic of Zimbabwe.

In an exclusive interview with Today News Africa correspondents Lindsey O’Neal in Florida and Kristi Pelzel in Washington D.C., Mr. Ray argued that Zimbabwe may be in “big trouble” if infections were to climb again.

“If they start getting increased infection rates they will be in big trouble,” Ambassador Ray said. “The physical infrastructure is not up to par.”

Recently, President of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Mnangagwa, relaxed COVID-19 restrictions after the number of new cases declined. The decision was taken in efforts to boost the economic activity and create a sense of “normalcy” in the country. However, experts are now concerned that the move might lead to another peak.

Emmerson Mnangagwa, President of Zimbabwe. 
Emmerson Mnangagwa, President of Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe’s economy has been struggling for decades, and now, the country’s leaders are trying to fight an economic crisis on multiple fronts exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Complete industries, like hospitality and travel, have come to a halt. Medical facilities and health practitioners have been overburdened. 

Although the COVID-19 numbers in Zimbabwe are thought to be unreliable due to insufficient testing, the situation is grave, and vaccination numbers are incredibly low. Currently, there are around 70,000 Zimbabweans vaccinated, with a total population of around 14 million.

“We have ordinary people in rural areas, townships and vendors, more vulnerable than ever,” said Fadzayi Mahere, spokeswoman for Zimbabwe’s opposition party, Movement for Democratic Change Alliance. 

Ambassador Ray said he hopes that wealthier nations will take the lead in filling the gap. “If we leave pockets of infection around the globe, it hurts us too, eventually,” said Ray. “There needs to be a concerted effort on the part of the wealthier nations of the world to ensure that enough vaccines and capability to administer those vaccines get to places like Zimbabwe.” 

Kristi Pelzel is a Senior White House correspondent for Today News Africa in Washington D.C. Kristi also covers the US Department of State and the United Nations. She holds a master's degree from Georgetown University.

Show More
error: Alert: Share This Content !!

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker