339 days of the COVID-19 lockdown, and as of 2 March 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases has increased to 36 148 after 33 new cases were reported. All cases are local cases. The highest case tally was recorded in Harare with 15 cases. We note that the hospitalisation rate as of 1500hrs on the 1st of March 2021 went down to 117 hospitalised cases, 74 asymptomatic cases, 34 mild to moderate cases, 5 severe cases and 4 cases in Intensive Care Units. Active cases went down to 1 687 as the total number of recoveries went up to 32 989, increasing by 84 recoveries. The recovery rate stands at 91.1%. A total of 1 556 frontline workers were vaccinated bringing the cumulative number of the vaccinated to 25 077. The death toll continues to stand 1 472 after 4 new cases were recorded.
Critical Emerging Issue
Community mass testing and tracing
We continue to note reports in the public domain wherein communities have aired concerns regarding the efficacy of the COVID-19 tracing and testing currently being undertaken. We emphasize the need for an advanced test strategy that ensures community mass testing and contact tracing, to support the ongoing vaccine rollout. 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 a complete re-prioritisation of mass-based community testing.
- 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 of all members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police, and all lockdown enforcement officers.
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 the 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.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe