330 days of the COVID-19 lockdown and as of 21 February 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases has increased to 35 796 after 28 new cases were reported. All were local cases of which the highest case tally was recorded in Midlands with 10 cases and Harare with the second-highest tally at 9 new cases. We note that the hospitalisation rate, as of 1500 hrs on the 20th of February 2021, went up to 102 hospitalised cases, 59 asymptomatic, 37 mild to moderate cases, 4 severe cases and 2 cases in Intensive Care Units. Active cases went down to 2 235 as the total number of recoveries went up to 32 125, increasing by 29. The recovery rate still stands at 89.7%. The death toll has risen to 1 436 after 4 new deaths were recorded.
The 43rd day of the 2nd hard lockdown and we note the continued increase of infections and urge vigilance of the spread of infection regardless of the onset of the vaccination program.
We further call for the daily statistics to include the numbers of vaccines-in-arms per day to maintain accountability and transparency in the national daily data on COVID-19. We urge transparency and accountability in the entire vaccination rollout exercise.
Whilst we note the announcement regarding vaccine centres, we remain concerned that the information is not disability friendly and further that there have been inadequate preparations to ensure disabled persons and the elderly have the support necessary to access vaccine centres.
Critical Emerging Issue
We continue to note a high number of active COVID-19 cases which are currently being managed at home, when compared to the hospitalised cases. We therefore highlight our concerns on home-based care and the lack of support systems to assist such households. Reports from our networks indicate the non-operation of isolation centres in areas such as Kwekwe. Given these challenges, we reiterate the need for the Ministry of Health and Child Care to officially communicate and publicize information regarding the state of isolation centres and hospitals throughout all Provinces and Districts of Zimbabwe.
- We urge Government to introduce and implement measures to support home-based carers and primary care-givers in order to ease their burden and to minimize further risk of transmission.
- We urge up-scaling efforts of safe isolation centres which are not overcrowded and which also cater for the needs and rights of women such as the availability of sanitary aid and sexual and reproductive health services.
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 the 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 to 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.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe