369 days of the COVID-19 lockdown, and as of 1 April 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 36 896 after 14 new cases were reported. All are local cases. The highest case tallies were recorded in Matebeleland North and Bulawayo with 4 cases each. We note that the hospitalisation rate as of 1500hrs on the 1st of April 2021 went down to 34 hospitalised cases, 6 asymptomatic cases, 18 mild to moderate cases, 7 severe cases and 3 cases Intensive Care Units. Active cases went up to 675. The total number of recoveries went up to 34 698, increasing by 12 recoveries. The recovery rate remains at 94%. A total of 10 796 people received their 1st doses of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 87 791. A total of 2 631 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 17 516. The death toll remains at 1 523 after no new deaths were recorded.
We commend the efforts to share information and expand access to vaccines for citizens. We take note of the large number of persons vaccinated today, slightly over 10 thousand people receiving their first doses of vaccine representing the largest single day for 1st vaccine administration indicative of the rapid pace of vaccination at this stage.
We commend the announcement regarding vaccine availability. We note further that the approved local vaccine mix includes four vaccines, Sinopharm and Sinovac from China, Russia’s Sputnik V and India’s Covaxin.
We note the arrival of a further 1 056 000 doses of vaccine procured by the Government from China. We note further the announcement by the Government that approximately 1 million vaccines will be received per month going forward as part of ongoing procurement.
- We call upon Government to continue to advise the nation on the vaccine mix being received and administered in the country.
- We call upon the government to continue to advise the nation regarding vaccine procurement and vaccine stores.
Critical emerging issue
Social protection measures
We continue to amplify our concern that the majority of women in Zimbabwe and women-led households are facing the biggest impact in terms of food security, income loss, and care-giving burdens. We emphasize the need for prioritization of women’s access to social safety nets during COVID-19. While noting the announcement regarding the increase for the amount to be distributed to beneficiaries of the Cash Transfer System for vulnerable persons in COVID-19 from ZWL $300 to ZWL $1 500, we are concerned that the disbursements have not yet been distributed to beneficiaries.
We continue to recommend that Government announces the direct distribution of basic commodities and food in communities similar to the subsidized mealie meal distribution program.
- We recommend the expedition of the distribution of cash transfers to beneficiaries.
- We call for the adequate funding of a National Social Protection Policy Framework.
- We therefore urge Government to expand social safety nets and offset economic impacts for COVID-19.
- We reinforce our calls for the provision of support for households who are no longer able to sustain themselves due to loss of livelihoods, especially women-led households.
Containment of COVID-19 infections during the Easter break
We note the extensive regulations set in place to reduce opportunities for the potential spread of infection during the upcoming Easter-Break. We note regulation pertaining to the reduction of inter-provincial travel in regards to learners staying within Boarding Schools during the Easter break, which is a cause for distress in families and communities. We urge practical measures to ensure that centres of learning, do not become platforms for the spread of COVID-19 infections due to inadequate water and sanitisation support or inadequate social distancing infrastructure.
- We urge the expansion of mass community-based testing to support track and trace systems for strong infection control.
- We urge the monitoring of public transport services to ensure they adhere to strict COVID-19 guidelines.
- We urge the Government to expedite the delivery of water and sanitation infrastructure support to schools.
- We call upon the deployment of social welfare officers to inspect schools and support teachers and schooling staff to support learners who may be in psychological distress.
- We continue to call for mental health support to citizens to be made practically accessible to communities.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe