363 days of the COVID-19 lockdown, and as of 26 March 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 36 805, after 27 new cases were reported. All are local. The highest case tally was recorded in Harare with 12 cases. We note that the hospitalisation rate as of 1500hrs on the 25th of March 2021 went down to 45 hospitalised cases, 14 asymptomatic cases, 21 mild to moderate cases, 8 severe cases and 2 cases in Intensive Care Units. Active cases went up to 715. The total number of recoveries went up to 34 572, increasing by 17 recoveries. The recovery rate goes up to 93.9%. A total of 6 201 people received their 1st doses of vaccine. 2 474 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 6 569. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 61 093. The death toll remains at 1 518 after no new deaths were recorded.
We note the announcement by the Government of Zimbabwe regarding the arrival of 70 000 doses of COVID-19 CovoVax vaccines from India which are a donation from the Government of India which will arrive in Zimbabwe on the evening of Monday the 29th of March 2021. We continue to monitor the vaccine mix available in Zimbabwe and encourage the Government to ensure a wide vaccine mix to support vaccine uptake. We continue to call for the COVID-19 interministerial committee on Monitoring of Vaccines to report to the public the status of those who have been vaccinated to support wider knowledge on the response to vaccines.
Critical emerging issues
We highlight the World Food Program, Zimbabwe Food Security Monitoring Report for February 2021.
The report shows the increased number of people experiencing insufficient food consumption at 5.6 million during the last week of February, indicating an increase of 500,000 people since January. Whilst, we acknowledge the general decrease in inflation and note the continued reduction of Food inflation which decreased from 369% in January to 359% in February 2021, we continue to highlight that food prices are beyond the capacity of most households to support their food needs.
We accordingly highlight that for the same period, prices in bond note payments for the basic food items monitored increased by an average of 8% compared to January 2021, with the highest increase recorded for maize grain at an average of 15%. At the same time, prices in USD increased for the basic food items monitored by an average of 5% compared to January 2021, with the highest price increases reported for maize grain (9%) and sugar bean prices remained stable.
- We continue to call upon Government to support access to food for households facing hunger.
- We call upon expanded social protection measures to address food insecurity beyond the cash transfer grants presently being offered at USD $17.
COVID-19 public health guidelines
We are dismayed by the demonstrated complacency by citizens, including pupils in adhering to COVID-19 public health guidelines and safety measures, particularly on face-masks and physical distancing. We urge school authorities, Government and citizens at large to continue to undertake significant steps to support infection control and minimisation of exposure to the virus. In light of this, we call for measures that will aggressively compliment potential vaccine deployment and rescue the Nation from the possibility of a third wave of infections.
- We call for concerted efforts to de congest authorised public transport.
- We call for strict compliance with sanitation measures on public transport services.
- In light of schools’ resumption of operations, we call for strengthened support to education centres and schools to access adequate water and sanitation services in light of the recent re-opening of physically schooling.
- We recommend expanded community testing to ensure adequate testing and tracing regardless of the on-boarding of vaccines.
- We urge support for the establishment and sustenance of community-based isolation centres to alleviate the hardships of families and communities that cannot self-isolate.
- We urge supermarkets and retailers to enhance in-store monitoring and increased management of physical distancing at pay points and exists.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe