376 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 8 April 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 37 052 after 68 new cases were reported, all are local cases. The highest case tally was recorded in Matebeland South with 55 cases. We note that the Hospitalisation rate as at 15:00hrs on the 7th of April 2021 went up to 27 hospitalised cases, 1 asymptomatic cases, 15 mild to moderate cases, 9 severe cases and 2 cases Intensive Care Units. Active cases went up to 706. The total number of recoveries went up to 34 814, increasing by 11 recoveries. The recovery rate remains at 94%. A total of 13 305 people received their 1st doses of vaccine. The cumulative number of the
1st dose vaccinated now stands at 166 543. A total of 955 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 27 134. The death toll goes up to 1 532 after one new death was recorded.
We commend the steady pace of vaccination. We commend frontline health care professionals in particular the teams of nurses, in in some instances, all women teams, providing support to citizens coming through for vaccination.
Critical emerging issue
1. COVID-19 outbreaks in Schools
We highlight the outbreaks of COVID-19 in Schools in Matabeleland South
We commend the testing the tracing systems in place that have tracked this outbreak. We highlight that 55 cases of COVID-19 that have been tested and traced at Sacred Heart Secondary, Falcon College and primary schools in Umzingwane district. We note that 136 persons were tested and 85 people tested negative whilst 51 positive cases where reported. We note further that two staff members, four day-scholars and 45 boarders tested positive. Further, we note that two, day-scholars who tested positive stay at Sacred Heart Primary with one staying at Sacred Heart High and last one stay at Falcon College.
We note further the cases of three students in lower sixth at Girls College in Bulawayo who have tested positive for COVID-19. We commend the actions of the schools to test and trace pupils to support infection control efforts.
- We call for support to testing and tracing of COVID-19 in public schools.
- We call for direct efforts to test students in public boarding schools and in community schools to stem the potential super spreader potential of infections in schools.
- We continue to remind the Government that vaccination is not a substitute for infection control.
We sincerely hope that COVID-19 surveillance systems are as robust as the ones in operation in Matabeleland South. We note that this province similarly traced outbreaks pre December 2020 with similar vigilance. We urge the other provinces to exercise the highest levels of vigilance and protect learners and learning institutions from wide spread outbreaks of COVID-19.
2. Cancellation of June 2021 “O” And “A” Level Exams by ZIMSEC
We note the cancellation of the June Exam by ZIMSEC. We appreciate the acknowledgement of the deficits caused by disruption in the education calendar as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We continue to raise concern however on the late announcement of this cancellation. The inability to appropriately forecast and announce shifts in regards to education calendars raises undue anxiety in learners who have been participating in various catch up programs with fear of failure causing distress.
We highlight the traumatic impact of stress on young persons and
- We call for administrative matters that are responsive to the context of young persons.
1. Social Protection measures
We continue to amplify our concern that the majority of women in Zimbabwe and women-led households are facing the biggest impacts in 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 ZWL1500, 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 National Social Protection Policy Framework.
- We therefore urge Government to expand social safety nets and offset economic impacts for COVID19.
- 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.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe