338 days of the COVID-19 lockdown and as of 1 March 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases has increased to 36 115, after 26 new cases were reported. All cases are local cases. The highest case tally was recorded in Manicaland with 10 cases. We note that the hospitalisation rate, as at 1500hrs on the 28th of February 2021, went up to 157 hospitalised cases, 68 asymptomatic cases, 44 mild to moderate cases, 35 severe cases and 10 cases in Intensive Care Units. Active cases went down to 1 742 as the total number of recoveries went up to 32 905, increasing by 239 recoveries. The recovery rate went up to 91.1%. 2 163 frontline workers were vaccinated bringing the total to 21 456 vaccinations. The death toll continues to stand at 1 468 after 5 new cases were recorded.
We note the 5 new deaths recorded after a period of two days with 0 Deaths recorded. Fully cognisant that the declining numbers of active cases and reduced numbers of deaths, have been key factors in the recent extensive relaxation of COVID-19 regulations, we remain concerned at the number of infections recorded. We call for government surveillance to remain vigilant to the disease as we seek to attain a minimum of 14 consecutive days with zero new infections whilst testing and tracing level remain commiserate with community surveillance needs.
Critical Emerging Issue
Resumption of school lessons
We note the announcement by Cabinet on the imminent phased resumption of the education sector, with exam writing classes expected to commence lessons on 15 March 2021, and the rest of learners opening on 22 March 2021.
We continue to emphasise the need to prioritise the safety of learners together with their teachers and supporting staff.
- We recommend development of specific comprehensive strategies for ensuring that pupils with disabilities attend school without increased exposure to the disease.
- We urge that preventative measures for vulnerable pupils in preparedness for the resumption of schools be clear, transparent and tangible.
We continue to note that more active COVID-19 cases are currently being managed at home, as compared to the hospitalised cases. We therefore highlight our concerns on home-based care and 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 care givers and primary care-givers in order to ease their burden and to minimize further risk of transmission.
- We urge up-scaling efforts on safe isolation centres which are not overcrowded which also cater for the needs and rights of women such as the availability of sanitary aid and sexual and reproductive health services.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe