386 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 18 April 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 37 751 after 52 new cases were reported, all are local cases. The highest case tally was recorded in Bulawayo with 21 cases. We note that the Hospitalisation rate as at 15:00hrs on the 17th of April 2021 went down to 8 hospitalised cases, 0 asymptomatic cases, 7 mild to moderate cases, 1 severe cases and 0 cases Intensive Care Units. (7 of the country’s 10 provinces did not report their hospitalisation rates namely Bulawayo, Harare, Manicaland, Masvingo, Midlands, Matebeleland South and Mashonaland West).
Active cases continue the upward trend by going up to 1 179. The total number of recoveries went up to 35 019, increasing by 14 recoveries. The recovery rate stands at 92.9%. A total of 2 488 people received their 1st doses of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 278 583. A total of 57 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 35 863. The death toll goes up to 1 553 after 1 death was recorded.
Critical emerging issue
1. Inconsistencies in Hospitalisation Rate Reporting
We continue to highlight issues regarding consistency in reporting of the hospitalisation rates. Whilst we acknowledge that during the Independence break the rates reported for the 18th of April is so far the reporting rate that is inconsistent this long weekend. We draw attention to the fact that this is not the first time the reported rates have failed to represent the true picture of the hospitalisation situation across the country. The persisting inconsistencies have significant ramifications as they not only affect data quality but the level of preparedness and capacity of the nation to respond to the surge. We highlight that policy makers make informed decisions based on the best available data, and not bedevilled by such inconsistences. Real time implications of the readiness of the oxygen and COVID-19 treatment and management value chain are contingent upon the most accurate information consistently. We accordingly emphasize that in light of real concerns of potential surge in infections, this inconsistency cannot be ignored.
In addition, we note that the current rise in active cases is beginning to mirror the rise in active cases in the second wave of the outbreak in Zimbabwe and thus such should be considered an early warning indicator to Government and stakeholders.
- We continue to draw the attention of the leadership of the National Inter Ministerial Team on COVID-19, the Ministry of Health and Child Care and the Parliament of Zimbabwe to the inconsistencies in reporting and data.
- We continue to raise issues regarding the internal system in the health sector that are highlighted by the deficiencies in reportage, secondly we continue to raise issues for maintaining high levels of data quality and integrity.
- We highlight the real increases in active cases that require the health system to gear up and be prepared for a potential rise in hospitalisation, including down-stream industries such the oxygen supply sector which has persistently fallen behind in supplies of oxygen.
1. Independence Day COVID-19 Measures
We note the second Independence Day in which large scale gatherings and in person public addresses which have been hallmarks of the commemorations have also been cancelled.
We note the extraordinary measures taken in our social and economic sphere by Government in a bid to reduce inter-provincial travel and 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 note the trauma this has had on students, staff and families alike.
Whilst we appreciate the measures as they may 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 are concerned by 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 call for protecting the testing and tracing priority whilst vaccination is on-going.
- We are concerned by the limited and static nature of the vaccine program which is not connecting to where people are but rather heavily centralised and not mobile.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe