328 days of the COVID-19 lockdown, and as of 19 February 2020, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases has increased to 35 710 with a reported recording of 167 new cases. All are local cases, of which the highest case tally was recorded in Harare with 74 cases and Bulawayo with the second-highest tally at 22 new cases. We note that the hospitalisation rate, as of 1500 hrs on the 18th of February 2021 went down to 98 hospitalised cases, 4 asymptomatic, 62 mild to moderate cases, 28 severe cases and 4 cases in Intensive Care Units. Active cases went up to 2 308 as the total number of recoveries went up to 31 972 increase by 151. The recovery rate remains at 89.5%. The death toll has risen to 1 430 after 10 new deaths were recorded.
The 42nd day of the 2nd hard lockdown and we note delivery of vaccines throughout the country. We applaud stakeholders and local government authorities in various Provinces for raising awareness and conducting sensitisation initiatives on the vaccine roll out.
Critical Emerging Issue
As various Provinces are set to kick-start the vaccination exercise this coming week, we continue to urge responsible authorities at local, provincial and National levels, to be transparent and accountable in the entire vaccination rollout exercise.
- We are concerned with lack of information regarding the inclusion of persons with disabilities.
- 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 rollout 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 to 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.
- 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.
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 impacts in food security, income loss, and caregiving 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.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe