384 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 16 April 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 37 354 after 112 new cases were reported, all are local cases. The highest case tally was recorded in Mat South with 97 cases. We note that the Hospitalisation rate as at 15:00hrs on the 15th of April 2021 went up to 35 hospitalised cases, 0 asymptomatic cases, 26 mild to moderate cases, 7 severe cases and 2 cases Intensive Care Units. Active cases went up to 1 002. The total number of recoveries went up to 34 981, increasing by 20 recoveries. The recovery rate further drops marginally to 93.2%. A total of 16 800 people received their 1st doses of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 269 732. A total of 2 020 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 32 969. The death toll goes up to 1 551 after 1 death was recorded.
While we continue to salute the active and aggressive work of the Provincial and District COVID-19 task-teams in Matabeleland South, we note with concern the large number of tested and active cases on the rise in Matabeleland South which are indicative of an outbreak in the Province. We further note, with worry, the rapid increase of COVID-19 cases in schools, which may signal a potential Third wave outbreak.
- We therefore urge increased support to communities in accessing testing and tracking services.
- We recommend increased support to community case care workers providing counselling services to support desperately traumatised communities, and in particular, young persons and pupils who remain confined in schools and other community facilities.
- We call for the provision of food and meals to the affected communities who are facing hunger in quarantine and isolation.
- We continue to request the National IMT on COVID-19, to task the other provinces to expand and strengthen their disease surveillance systems, in particular, to expand testing and tracking to rural communities and public boarding schools.
Critical emerging issue
1. Spikes in Vaccine Uptake
We note a large number of persons receiving vaccines on the 16th of April, of 16 800, after a record of 21 300 people on the 15th of April, received their 1st dose vaccines. We commend the public who have demonstrated their desire to take up vaccines as evidenced by the vaccines boosts during the Easter and Independence holiday breaks. We commend frontline workers who are undertaking the mammoth task of manning and running vaccines centres at such a time and under very difficult conditions.
We continue to highlight however, the need for increased uptake of vaccination to meet national targets.
The numbers of vaccines administered must continue to increase on a day-to-day basis to ensure that the targets set by the Zimbabwean government are met by the same Government in implementation of the National Vaccines strategy.
- We reinforce our calls for the release of demographics on the vaccinated population
- We continue to call for publicization of monitoring reports on 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.
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.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe