378 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 10 April 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 37 273 after 95 new cases were reported, all are local cases. The highest case tally was recorded in Matabeleland South with 104 cases. We note that the Hospitalisation rate as at 15:00hrs on the 9th of April 2021 went down to 35 hospitalised cases, 0 asymptomatic cases, 23 mild to moderate cases, 9 severe cases and 3 cases Intensive Care Units. Active cases went up to 873. Matabeleland North and Masvingo did not report. The total number of recoveries went up to 34 862, increasing by 31 recoveries. The recovery rate goes down at 93.8%. A total of 15 699 people received their 1st doses of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 193 936. A total of 829 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients
to 27 797. The death toll goes up to 1 538 after three new deaths was recorded.
Noting, with commendation, the high rate of recoveries in Zimbabwe, we call our medical communities and the public to increase awareness on “Long COVID” a phenomenon experienced by both severe and mild COVID-19 patients who continue to experience negative health experiences weeks and months after they have been marked as recovered. We highlight, ongoing research findings, which indicate that Long-COVID sufferers must receive support and increase the training of the healthcare workers of the phenomenon. We further highlight, for critical attention medical sector reports that indicate that Long-COVID has been found in persons who had not been tested or recorded as positive for COVID-19 initially and also in persons who had not been hospitalised at all.
Critical emerging issue
1. Ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks in Schools
We highlight the testing and tracing of educational communities surrounding schools in Matebeleland South.
We note the tracing of COVID-19 to Sacred Heart, Mzilikazi Schools, Girls College, Falcon College, and Primary Schools in Umzingwane District.
- We continue to urge the Provincial heads of COVID-19 Task Teams in other provinces to expand their testing and tracking of COVID-19 in schools to ensure early tracking and stronger infection control systems to stop the possible onset of the 3rd wave.
We commend the actions of the schools to test and trace pupils to support infection control efforts. We decry the lack of testing in public schools and in rural communities. It is grossly inappropriate for the public surveillance system to rely on the pockets of parents who are financially stretched to track and trace COVID-19.
- We call for support to testing and tracing of COVID-19 in public schools.
- We call for direct efforts to fund the testing of students and staff 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.
1. Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination
Concerned regarding 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 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 concerning at 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 movement 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 able to 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.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe