Zimbabwe Lockdown: Day 311 – WCoZ Situation Report

311 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 2 February 2020, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases increased to 33 810 after 266 new cases were reported. All are local cases of which the highest case tally was recorded in Harare at 107 cases. Mashonaland West has the second highest with a new case tally of 41 cases. We note that the hospitalisation rate on the 1st February 2021 went down to 148 hospitalised cases, 79 mild to moderate cases, 59 severe cases and 10 cases in Intensive Care Units (with Mater Dei Hospital and Thorngrove not reporting). Active cases went down to 5 766 as the total number of recoveries went up to 26 794 following a continued increase in recoveries by 211 recoveries. The recovery rate continues to increase to 79.2%. The death toll has risen to 1 254 after 20 new deaths were recorded. 

The 27th day of the 2nd hard lockdown and we highlight the need to strengthen the reporting of COVID-19 statics in full. We are concerned by the under-testing and underreporting that is part of the COVID-19 pandemic. We continue to highlight the gaps in reporting regarding direct COVID-19 deaths and COVID associated deaths. We continue to note the lack of complete daily information regarding the hospitalisations rate. We echo the Members of Parliament who are questioning the low rate of hospitalisation due to poor facilities and lack of trust in the health systems. We continue to call for a robust and full disclosure of the COVID-19 pandemic in Zimbabwe to the generality of citizens. 

Critical Emerging Issue 

Access to COVID-19 vaccines by citizens  

Whilst we had previously commended the announcement by Government that it has managed to mobilise USD 100 million to support the procurement of 20 million doses for the COVID-19 vaccination to vaccinate 10 million people approximately 60% of the Zimbabwean population to meet herd immunity targets.

We are alarmed at the announcement that Vaccines will have to be paid for by ordinary citizens in order to ensure Government recoup costs.

We call the Government to order. Vaccines procured by public funds for public goods in a global health emergency cannot be availed through charging of citizens. These are public goods. Further, these public goods have been procured by the same government using public funds meant to support the needs of the same general public which are being asked to pay for the costs.

It will remain irrelevant, on principle, the cost of the vaccines to members of the public, the point is a point in principle.

The inability of Government this entire period to ensure that public resources are fully deployed to marshal a public response to the pandemic are shocking. 

We applaud the efforts of Government to marshal the resources to bring vaccines to Zimbabwe. 

  • We call for Government to give details and specifics of the source of funds and the auxiliary modalities that are supporting the process. 
  • We call for equitable access to vaccines and free vaccines to communities. 

Outstanding Issue

Reduction in testing 

We note with concern the significantly reduced testing that has occurred over the weekend, in particular, a drop of over 2 000 tests less between tests performed on Friday the 29th of January 2021 as opposed to tests performed on the 31st of January 2021. On the 1st of February 2021 there was a post-weekend increase of tests to 2 433. 

We once more reiterate concerns regarding the sustaining the pace of testing and the expansion of proactive testing in communities who continue to raise distress calls yet without access to tests. 

  • We sincerely call the Government to ensure that testing is on-going and that the rate of COVID-19 reported is not dropping due to a drop in testing but rather a result of infection control.

Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe

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