382 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 14 April 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 37 369 after 39 new cases were reported, all are local cases. The highest case tally was recorded in Harare with 5 cases. We note that the
Hospitalisation rate as at 15:00hrs on the 12th of April 2021 went down to 31 hospitalised cases, 0 asymptomatic cases, 21 mild to moderate cases, 6 severe cases and 4 cases Intensive Care Units. Active cases went down to 875. The total number of recoveries went up to 34 946, increasing by 14 recoveries. The recovery rate remains at 93.6%. A total of 13 116 people received their 1st doses of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 231 632. A total of 657 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 30 496. The death toll goes up to 1 548 after 1 death was recorded.
Critical emerging issue
1. Vigilance through COVID-19 mass testing
We note with commendation, the reduction in recorded cases of COVID-19 and the downward trend in hospitalised cases and deaths. We note further that the strong uptake of vaccination by the public is significant contributory action to reducing the prevalence of COVID-19.
We draw attention to concerns regarding the decreased levels of mass community testing being undertaken on a daily basis, especially in light of the Vaccine Roll-out currently underway.
Whilst we acknowledge and celebrate the persistent reduction in COVID-19 cases, we remain concerned at the need to strengthen vigilance on infection control at community level.
We draw attention to congested public spaces such a government service centres for transport, documentation, agriculture and other public services. We further remain troubled by the weak adherence to social distancing and mandatory mask wearing in retail centres and community social events.
We remain concerned at rural and public schooling communities who have had to pay for their own tests, and often are not able to pay for those tests. The fact that tests continue to cost USD$60, reduces the efficacy of the surveillance system in place to test for prevalence of COVID-19 in rural communities and in public schools.
Whilst we acknowledge efforts as announced by Cabinet to retain control on COVID-19 infections for both domestic and international transmission cases, we remain disturbed by lack of real changes in how communities travel and engage in day-to-day activities.
We continue to emphasize on the need for an advanced test strategy which ensures community mass testing and contact tracing. We continue to emphasize that in the absence of mass community testing and public accounting for local transmission case-tracing, it is impossible to determine the appropriate reflection of the COVID-19 pandemic prevalence in Zimbabwe.
- We urge against de-prioritisation of testing, over the Vaccine roll out.
- We call for expanded testing in rural communities and public boarding schools
- We call for reduction of costs of tests for communities identified for surveillance to expand the number of persons able to access tests.
- We further reinforce our call for an advanced testing strategy in the Public sector and urge Government to update the Nation on the progress of testing of all members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police, and all lockdown enforcement officers.
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 to citizens.
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 raise concern over linkages of the COVID-19 vaccine certificates to passports and IDs.
- We troubled by reports 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 deeply 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