327 days of the COVID-19 lockdown, and as of 18 February 2020, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases has increased to 35 543 with a reported recording of 120 new cases All are local cases, of which the highest case tally was recorded in Harare with 85 cases and Bulawayo with the second highest tally at 8 new cases. We note that the hospitalisation rate as of 1500 hrs on the 17th of February 2021 went up to 117 hospitalised cases, 2 asymptomatic, 83 mild to moderate cases, 27 severe cases and 5 cases in Intensive Care Units. Active cases went down further to 2 302 as the total number of recoveries went up to 31 821 – an increase of 206. The recovery rate increased to 89.5%. The death toll has risen to 1 420 after 2 new deaths were recorded.
The 41st day of the 2nd hard lockdown and we continue to urge complete re-prioritisation of mass-based community testing and mass-based community tracing. We note that this week has seen a slight increase in COVID-19 cases and we remain vigilant on the direction of the curve. We continue to call for the clarification of the practical support needed to bring the informal sector back online in a positive, COVID-19 safe manner.
Critical Emerging Issue
Social protection during lockdown
We emphasize the need for prioritization of women’s access to social safety nets during COVID-19 and the hard lockdown. We continue to amplify our concern that the majority of women in Zimbabwe and women-led households are facing the biggest impact in food security, income loss, and care-giving burdens.
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 therefore urge Government to expand social safety nets and offset economic impacts for COVID-19 and the subsequent hard lockdown.
- We call for the expansion of the cash transfer support to vulnerable households and the 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.
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, especially in light of the vaccine rollout currently underway. 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 against de-prioritisation of testing over the vaccine rollout.
- 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 all members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police, and all lockdown enforcement officers
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe