325 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 16 February 2020, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases has increased to 35 315 with a reported recording of 93 new cases were reported. All are local cases, of which the highest case tally was recorded in Bulawayo with 20 cases. We note that the hospitalisation rate as of the 15:00hrs on the 15th of February 2021 went down to 106 hospitalised cases, 3 asymptomatic, 65 mild to moderate cases, 34 severe cases and cases in 4 cases Intensive Care Units. Active cases went down further to 2 922 as the total number of recoveries went up to 30 979 increase by 220. The recovery rate rose to 87.3%. The death toll has risen to 1 414 after 4 new deaths were recorded.
The 39th day of the 2nd hard lockdown and we note the announcement by the Ministry of Health and Child Care that the first vaccination phase rolls out tomorrow at Wilkins Hospital. We join calls by our stakeholders and partners demanding the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the vaccine roll-out plan. To that end, we amplify the call upon Government provide guidelines on the inclusion of persons with disabilities, and particularly on the side effects of COVID-19 Vaccines with emphasis on the possible implications to persons with disabilities especially those with mental challenges and others already battling with other chronic illnesses.
Critical Emerging Issue
Imminent vaccine roll-out
As the 1st vaccination roll-out exercise is expected to begin tomorrow, we urge transparency and accountability in the entire vaccination roll-out plan.
- We are concerned at the risks of “queue jumping” in regards to eligibility of persons to accessing the vaccines.
- We continue to challenge the development and deployment of the roll out plan that has excluded the participation of organised forums of civil society and employees
- We also continue to critique the planned practicalities for supporting the adult population to actually connect easily with the vaccination drive.
We remain concerned at the categorisation and prioritisation of the first group of persons to be vaccinated and remain concerned at those within that first group who will be excluded due to issues such as HIV and other immune system suppressing illnesses. We are further concerned at the exclusion of persons of the first group due to diabetes and hypertension. In our view, without are targeted appreciation of the health burdens of the same targeted and prioritised groups.
- We continue to question the rationale of undertaking a vaccination drive, prior to formal investigation and assessment of the efficacy of the vaccines by the Zimbabwe National Immunisation Advisory Group.
Community based isolation centres
We continue to raise concerns about placing the burden of the treatment and management of COVID-19 on communities, particularly where there are no supportive community-based mechanisms to support the undue and inappropriate home-based care model in effect. We continue to decry the lack of fully equipped isolation centres supported by the central government, thereby forcing patients to resort to home-based care. We continue to note the fact that management and treatment of COVID-19 in homes does not receive any form of support from Government, which may include PPE, thereby exposing and expanding the risks of infection to communities. In light of the potential mutations to the virus, this continues to be a real danger.
- We call upon the designation of appropriate centres as community isolation centres and support to those centres.
- 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.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe