343 days of the COVID-19 lockdown and as of 6 March 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases has increased to 36 260, after 12 new cases were reported, all cases are local cases. The highest case tally was recorded in Bulawayo with 5 cases. We note that the hospitalisation rate as of 1500hrs on the 5th of March 2021 went up to 131 hospitalised cases, 65 asymptomatic cases, 37 mild to moderate cases, 19 severe cases and 10 cases in Intensive Care Units. Active cases went down to 970 as the total number of recoveries went up to 33 805, increasing by 46 recoveries. The recovery rate now stands at 93.2%. A total of 779 frontline workers were vaccinated, bringing the cumulative number of the vaccinated to 32 014. The death toll now stands at 1 485 after 1 new death was recorded.
We take note of the procurement of the Covaxin, the COVID-19 vaccine developed and manufactured in India. We note that the vaccine has been authorised for use in Zimbabwe and that the delivery of 75 000 doses of the same is currently yet to be finalised.
Critical emerging issue
Community mass testing
We note a decrease in the number tests currently being undertaken on a daily basis, especially in light of the vaccine rollout currently underway. We emphasize the need for an advanced test strategy that ensures community mass testing and contact tracing. We continue to emphasize 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 of all members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police, and all lockdown enforcement officers.
Accountability for COVID-19 funding
We note our ongoing concern regarding the weak accountability for COVID-19 funds in Zimbabwe. We note with alarm the recent disclosure that Treasury has entered into a debt agreement with the Arab Economic bank for USD 10million to respond to COVID-19. This is untenable.
Whilst we are fully aware that the response has been financed by a mix of direct government budgetary expenditure, donations from development partners, the private sector and communities. We remain concerned at the accountability measures provided by all who contributed to the national response to COVID-19.
We have raised repeatedly discrepancies in the public domain regarding the funding by Treasury to COVID-19 research, response and vaccines.
We remain alarmed that despite the best efforts of individual Members of Parliament and some Committee of Parliament, to seek clarifications on Treasury funds, the response remains grossly inadequate and dismal.
- A comprehensive public accounting of the state funding support towards the COVID-19 Pandemic.
- A complete accounting for the support provided by international partners.
- A thorough report on the expenditure of the contribution by the private sector, communities and individuals.
- We call for the President of Zimbabwe to institute a Commission of Enquiry into COVID-19 Fund.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe