383 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 15 April 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 37 442 after 53 new cases were reported, all are local cases. The highest case tally was recorded in Bulawayo with 22 cases. We note that the Hospitalisation rate as at 15:00hrs on the 14th of April 2021 went down to 28 hospitalised cases, 3 asymptomatic cases, 14 mild to moderate cases, 8 severe cases and 3 cases Intensive Care Units. Active cases went down to 875. The total number of recoveries went up to 34 961, increasing by 15 recoveries. The recovery rate drops marginally to 93.5%. A total of 21 300 people received their 1st doses of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 252 932. A total of 2 453 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 32 949. The death toll goes up to 1 550 after 2 deaths were recorded today.
We note a large number of persons receiving vaccines yesterday over 21 000 people in a day marking a largest group of persons vaccinated in a day. We note further that the number of second dose vaccines were also of over 2000 people. We commend the increase in the number vaccines administered on a day to day basis as critical in ensuring that the targets set by the Zimbabwean government are met for effective implementation of the National Vaccines strategy.
- We reinforce our calls for the release of demographics on the vaccinated population
- We continue to urge publishing of the monitoring reports of persons who have been vaccinated.
- We call for an expansion of real time measures to make post vaccines enquiries and information easily available to all citizens.
Critical emerging issue
1. Independence Day COVID-19 Measures
We note the extraordinary measures taken in the social and economic sphere by Government in a bid to reduce inter-provincial travel and to stem the potential rise in cases over both the Easter Holidays and the Independence holidays. We take particular note of the prohibition against learners in boarding schools not being able to travel home during this period and also not being able to receive visits from family members during this period, essentially, a period of confinement of students to schooling centres over key holidays in the national calendar. We also note the trauma this has had on students, staff and families alike.
Whilst we appreciate the measures as far as they relate to infection control, we remain concerned at the limited support public and rural boarding schools are receiving to ensure that centres of learning do not become COVID-19 hotspots.
- We raise concerns over the test and trace system in place to support the same communities in real time.
- We call for support to persons operating the informal sector in food markets, clothing markets, informal community-based manufacturing hubs and service areas.
We call upon the on-going supervision and support safe COVID-19 protocols in these sectors to stem the potential for spreading of infections.
- We recommend strengthening of the testing and tracing priority, whilst the vaccination exercise is on-going.
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 however 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. Therefore, 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 remain concerned at weak adherence to social distancing and mandatory mask wearing in retail centres and community social events.
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.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe