318 days of the COVID-19 lockdown and as of 9 February 2020, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases increased to 34 781 after 123 new cases were reported, all are local cases and of which the highest case tally was recorded in Harare with 43 cases and Masvingo with the second-highest tally at 27 cases. We note that the hospitalisation rate on the 8th of February 2021 went down to 103 hospitalised cases, 17 asymptomatic, 63 mild to moderate cases, 15 severe cases and 8 cases in Intensive Care Units. Active cases went down to 4 139 as the total number of recoveries went up to 29 289 following a continued increase in recoveries by 464 recoveries. The recovery rate remains at 84.2%. The death toll has risen to 1 353 after 14 new deaths were recorded.
The 34th day of the 2nd hard lockdown and we note statistics from the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) highlighting that a cumulative total of 403 544 persons have been arrested since 30 March 2020, for violating national lockdown measures. While we commend concerted efforts to enforce the lockdown, we urge the same spirited efforts in rolling out mass-community testing of citizens. Arresting citizens alone, is not enough, rather, it should be supported by advanced strategies such as mass testing and tracing to determine the appropriate reflection of the COVID-19 situation in the country.
We applaud the opening of a 22-bed isolation centre in Gwanda for use by COVID-19 patients. We urge expediting establishment of community isolation centres in other districts to ensure easy accessibility by communities. We further emphasize prioritisation of the needs and rights of women including sexual and reproductive health services in isolation centres.
Critical Emerging Issue
Social Protection during lockdown
We continue to raise the urgent need for Government to ensure that the lockdown is supported with the prioritisation of livelihood support in communities. We highlight that the lockdown can only be successful if citizens do not need to place themselves in danger as they seek to secure food, water and livelihood support. We underscore the fact that the inability of households to respect the lockdown is directly correlated to other persisting deprivation and insecurities they face on a day-to-day basis. The pandemic will continue to bedevil the nation, especially if the measures to increase access to social-economic goods and services, as part of strong social protection systems, are not implemented by Government.
- We therefore recommend that Government announces the direct distribution of basic commodities and food in communities similar to the subsidized mealie meal distribution program.
- We call for the expansion of cash transfer support to vulnerable households and a direct increase of the amounts to support vulnerable households.
- We call for the provision of support for households who are no longer able to sustain themselves due to loss of livelihoods, especially women-led households.
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 that is 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 actions, 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