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Zimbabwe facing “a new war” with the coronavirus

Four cabinet ministers are now among the 962 officially recorded as having died from COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

FILE: A medical staff member wearing protective equipment places a face mask on a mock patient at the Wilkins Infectious Diseases Hospital in Harare on 11 March 2020. Picture: AFP

HARARE - Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Saturday addressed the nation, saying the country was facing "a new war" with the coronavirus.

Four cabinet ministers are among the 962 officially recorded as having died from COVID-19 since the pandemic began - but this second surge of the disease is hitting far harder than last year.

Mnangagwa came out of annual leave to address the nation as another 45 people died from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours.

Transport Minister Joel Biggie Matiza died on Friday, as did recently retired head of the country's prisons Paradzayi Zimondi.

There is anger and grief as ordinary Zimbabweans also lose their parents - with appeals for oxygen on Twitter and supermarkets stocking Zumbani, a leaf some believe may help relieve some of the symptoms of COVID.

While the government has until now been cautious in public about a COVID vaccine, Mnangagwa appeared to be more in favour on Saturday, saying local experts would soon recommend which one to use in the country.

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