Zimbabwe said its prime tourist destination Victoria Falls has become the first city to achieve herd immunity in the country after administering COVID-19 vaccines to more than three-quarters of the targeted population.
The city is home to the magnificent Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe’s premier tourist attraction and one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
Last month, the government supplied the town of about 35,000 residents with 60,000 doses of the Sinovac vaccine purchased from China to cover all eligible residents as part of a plan to make the city the first COVID-19-free tourism hotspot in the world.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Monday applauded health officials for making the development a possibility.
“Last month I received my COVID-19 vaccine in Victoria Falls. I am immensely proud that over 77 percent of the city’s inhabitants have received their second jab,” he said on social media on Monday.
As a city that depends on the tourism industry, Victoria Falls has been hardest hit by the pandemic. Prior to the pandemic, more than 350,000 people visited the Zimbabwean side of the waterfall every year to admire the world’s largest waterfall by volume of falling water.
However, with global travel restrictions and strict national lockdowns enforced to curb the spread of COVID-19, tourist activities in the resort city were shut down for the greater part of 2020.
Zimbabwe launched its nationwide vaccination campaign on Feb. 18 with Sinopharm vaccines donated by China. To date, more than 350,000 people have been vaccinated.
So far the country has taken delivery of two batches of Sinovac doses purchased from China, adding to two batches of Sinopharm doses donated by the Chinese government.