373 days of the COVID-19 lockdown, and as of 5 April 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 36 934 after 11 new cases were reported. All are local cases. The highest case tally was recorded in Harare with 3 cases. We note that the hospitalisation rate as of 1500hrs on the 4th of April 2021 went down to 14 hospitalised cases, 0 asymptomatic cases, 4 mild to moderate cases, 7 severe cases and 3 cases in Intensive Care Units. Active cases went up to 651. The total number of recoveries went up to 34 758, increasing by 10 recoveries. The recovery rate remains at 94%. A total of 6 157 people received their 1st doses of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 123 454. A total of 453 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 22 056. The death toll remain at 1 525 after no new death was recorded.
We note that hospitals did not report their hospitalisation cases in the following provinces: Midlands, Mashonaland Central, Masvingo and Mashonaland West.
Critical emerging issue
Accountability for COVID-19 funding and vaccines
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 USD10 million to respond to COVID-19. We remain concerned about the accountability measures provided in relation to the contributions to the COVID-19 national response. We have repeatedly raised 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.
- We, therefore, urge a comprehensive public accounting of the state funding support towards the COVID-19 pandemic.
Proof of COVID-19 vaccination
We note growing media reports of persons holding fake vaccination certificates. Concerned further by reports of instances wherein health officials have sold fake COVID-19 vaccination cards, we, therefore, welcome the announcement by the Government to start issuing verifiable Electronic QPR encoded COVID-19 certificates to those who will have received their second dose.
Noting that the new electronic measures with various security features including linkages to passports and national ID’s are a proposed measure to combat the sale of counterfeit certificates in circulation, we raise concerns about the ethical and integrity issues arising from such measures. Whilst we welcome the electronic QPR encoding:
- We are concerned regarding linkages of the COVID-19 vaccine certificates to passports and IDs.
- We raise concerns at the idea that health status will be linked with the rights of persons to interface in social activities including the right to move to engage in other social programs.
- We are concerned at the potential rise of a “two-track society” which gives increased room for discrimination against those who are not vaccinated especially when considering that not all citizens will be eligible for vaccination nor may wish to be vaccinated.
- We call for the exercise of caution in industries and large-scale private sector companies seeking to link employment with vaccination.
Platform for reporting Covid-19 vaccine side effects
We commend the creation of a rapid reporting platform for members of the public to report the side effects of COVID-19 by the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ).
- We welcome this operational mechanism to substantiate a tracking and monitoring system in Government to ensure citizens may easily share side effects they may have experienced after getting the COVID-19 vaccine. This would address rising concerns in the public of side effects being discussed and reported in the public by those vaccinated.
- We note that the MCAZ platform can be accessed online on the following website http://e-pv.mcaz.co.zw or by downloading the MCAZ app on Android or iOS.
- We urge accessibility of the rapid reporting platform for all sections of society including rural and digitally-limited communities.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe