Zimbabwe Lockdown: Day 317 – WCoZ Situation Report

317 days of the COVID-19 lockdown, and as of 8 February 2020, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases increased to 34 658, after 106 new cases were reported. All are local cases, of which the highest case tally was recorded in Harare with 40 cases while Manicaland recorded the second highest tally at 22 cases. We note that the hospitalisation rate on the 7th of February 2021 went down significantly with 166 hospitalised cases: 14 asymptomatic, 98 mild to moderate cases, 42 severe cases and 12 cases in Intensive Care Units. Active cases went down to 4 494 as the total number of recoveries went up to 28 825 following a continued increase in recoveries by 274 recoveries. The recovery rate remains at 83.2%. The death toll has risen to 1 339 after 13 new deaths were recorded.

The 33rd day of the 2nd hard lockdown and we highlight concerns regarding the COVID-19 vaccine program. We urge Government to develop messaging which addresses numerous fears, myths and speculations which communities may have in anticipation of the vaccine rollout program. 

We call for the Government to update the nation on the progress regarding the tracing of the variants in circulation within the Zimbabwean population urgently prior to the inception of the vaccine program.

Critical Emerging Issue 

Community mass testing 

We note reports in the public domain wherein communities are not fully confident in the efficacy of tracing and testing currently being undertaken. We emphasize the need for an advanced testing strategy that ensures community mass testing and contact tracing. We submit that in the absence of mass community testing and public accounting for local transmission case-tracing, it is impossible to determine the appropriate reflection of the COVID-19 pandemic prevalence in Zimbabwe.

  • We urge a complete re-prioritisation of mass-based community testing.
  • We further reinforce our call for an advanced testing strategy in the Public sector and urge Government to update the Nation on the progress of testing of all members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police, and all lockdown enforcement officers.

Outstanding issues 

Zimbabwe’s participation in the WHO COVAX vaccine program 

We amplify press reports that indicate a very serious discrepancy regarding the commitment and participation of Zimbabwe, in the WHO-led COVAX vaccine facility, which is the much-touted mechanism due to lead in providing support to Zimbabwe’s access to vaccines.

We are concerned that it appears that the Zimbabwean Government, to date, has not actually signed onto the facility. 

The lack of administrative action to ensure that the country is indeed preparing for the COVAX facility is indicative of a dereliction of duty. This is despite numerous government officials indicating that the country is in the process of securing and preparing to deploy vaccines from the COVAX facility. This policy position is untenable. 

  • We call upon the Parliament of Zimbabwe to urgently engage the Executive on the matter which is of critical national interest.

Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe

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