388 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 20 April 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 37 875 after 16 new cases were reported, all are local cases. The highest case tallies were recorded in Harare and Bulawayo which both had 4 cases each. We note that the Hospitalisation rate as at 15:00hrs on the 19th of April 2021 went up to 44 hospitalised cases, 2 asymptomatic cases, 33 mild to moderate cases, 6 severe cases and 3 cases Intensive Care Units.
Masvingo province did not report today and neither did UBH in Bulawayo did not report as well. Active cases went down to 1 263. The total number of recoveries went up to 35 058, increasing by 27 recoveries. The recovery rate stands at 92.9%. A total of 7 661 people received their 1st doses of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 288 229. A total of 355 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 36 778. The death toll remains at 1 554 after 1 death was recorded.
Critical emerging issue
1. Expansion of Vaccination Drive
Whilst we note the increased uptake of vaccines in Zimbabwe and the supportive actions to ensure strengthened capacity to administer vaccines already undertaken by Government in close collaboration with Local Authorities we continue to decry the slow pace of vaccination viz a vis the local context and national targets.
We note that ultimately citizens are being requested to approach vaccine centres. The resulting effect is that the vaccination process, in the context of the 80% informal economy means the direct targets of the vaccination drive are being left behind. We highlight the correlating points between the ongoing negative socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 measures on livelihoods and as such the vaccination drive must be responsive to the context.
Fully aware that the COVID-19 vaccines available locally do not require extreme storage and logistics
- We call for Mobile vaccine centres to vaccinate people were the people are located.
- We call for the same mobile vaccination centres to support mass community testing efforts by drawing the responsiveness of the COVID-19 closer to citizens
- We call for public health measures which are practical responsive and realistic.
- We continue to call for the release of demographics on the vaccinated population.
- We continue to call for reports on the monitoring of persons who have been vaccinated.
- We call for an expansion of real time measures to make post-vaccine enquiries and information easily available to all citizens.
- We continue to call for easy access to verifiable and secure COVID-19 vaccination cards.
2. Non-Adherence to mandatory mask wearing
We highlight complacency and the decline in adherence to the mandatory mask wearing, public health guidelines right across the country as reported by our membership through a snap survey undertaken.
We are concerned regarding the laxity of mask wearing in the context of the full resumption of economic activities which are 80% in the informal sector whose workspaces are characterised by high levels of congestion and density of persons engaged in economic activities.
We are concerned by the weaknesses in supportive measures of sanitation and social distancing and the correlating implications on infection control.
- We continue to remind and stress to both the public and policy makers that vaccination is not a substitute for infection control.
- We reiterate calls on adherence to physical distancing, wearing of facemasks and regular temperature checks by businesses both formal and informal.
- We urge enforcement agents to strengthening efforts to ensure adherence to COVID-19 prevention measures whilst bully respecting the constitutional rights of citizens in the execution of their duties.
- We urge citizens to observe public health guidelines as they meet and interact in public places for social and economic activities.
- We continue to call for the strict implementation of public health safety protocols in the public transport system.
1. Long COVID-19 in Zimbabwe
Noting, with commendation, the high rate of recoveries in Zimbabwe, we call our medical communities and the public to increase awareness a “Long COVID” a phenomenon which has been described as 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-19 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-19 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.
- We call for the Ministry of Health and Child Care, through the COVID-19 Treatment and management Committee to update the nation on the tracing and treatment of patients with Long COVID-19 in Zimbabwe.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe