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Zimbabwe’s Rural Areas are being Hit Hard by Covid

Panic has slowly set in parts of rural Zimbabwe as news of deaths spreads in places where people had previously considered themselves safe from a virus mostly concentrated in the country’s bustling urban areas. Zimbabwe’s vaccination rollout, which started in February, has not prioritized rural areas and there has been a marked shortage of shots outside the cities. This is because rural Zimbabwe is largely inaccessible due to poor roads and a lack of telecommunications. By Thursday last week, 2 million doses had been administered in a country of almost 15 million people. Zimbabwe has received donations and purchased more than 5 million vaccines, mainly China’s Sinovac and Sinopharm. Around 70% of Zimbabwe’s population live in poverty and dilapidated health facilities are themselves in intensive care. Johannes Marisa, a medical practitioner described the third wave as a “disaster,” and blames potential super-spreader events such as funerals for the rise in rural areas.