390 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 22 April 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 38 018 after 38 new cases were reported, all are local cases. The highest case tally was recorded in Manicaland which had 18 cases. We note that the Hospitalisation rate as at 15:00hrs on the 21st of April 2021 went up to 58 hospitalised cases, 2 asymptomatic cases, 35 mild to moderate cases, 8 severe cases and 13 cases Intensive Care Units. UBH in Bulawayo did not report. Active cases went up to 1 39. The total number of recoveries went up to 35 073, increasing by 8 recoveries. The recovery rate stands at 92.9%. A total of 12 440 people received their 1st doses of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 308 071. A total of 6 363 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 43 728. The death toll remains at 1 555 after no death was recorded.
We continue to draw attention to the significant non-adherence to masking up. Communities continue to demonstrate laxity in adherence to the mandatory mask wearing and other public health guidelines right across the country as reported by our membership. Concerned for infection control within the informal sector which represents 80% of Zimbabwe economic activities, which is characterised by high levels of congestion and density of persons.
- We continue to remind and stress to both the public and policy makers that vaccination is not a substitute for infection control.
- We continue to call for adherence to physical distancing, wearing of facemasks and regular temperature checks by businesses both formal and informal.
Critical emerging issue
1. Transparency and Accountability in COVID-19 Financing and Vaccines Procurement
We highlight once more serious matters arising from reports indicating the side-lining of Parliament and the violation of the Constitution on provisions for debt in Zimbabwe in the context of COVID-19 vaccine sourcing.
We highlight the reports indicating that despite the recurring affirmations by the Government of the availability of USD$100 million national budget surplus, the Government continues to incur debt to support the purchase of Covid-19 vaccines from China. We are concerned with reports indicating that Government has engaged with Afrexibank without prior engagement of Parliament and has now secured a USD$50 million loan to support COVID-19 Vaccine procurement. This action comes against the disclosure by Treasury, in March 2021 to Parliament that, again, without prior engagement of Parliament, that it had secured a USD$10million loan to support vaccines procurement with the Arab Economic bank for USD10million to respond to COVID. This is untenable.
Whilst we are fully aware that the response has been financed by a mix of direct government budgetary expenditure, donations from development partners, the private sector, and communities, we remain concerned at the accountability measures provided by all who contributed to the national response to COVID-19. We have repeatedly raised discrepancies in the public domain regarding the funding by Treasury to COVID-19 research, response, and vaccines. We remain alarmed that despite the best efforts of individual Members of Parliament and some Committee of Parliament, to seek clarifications on Treasury funds, the response remains grossly inadequate and dismal. We therefore urge publicization of the following:
- A comprehensive public accounting of the state funding support towards the COVID19 Pandemic
- A complete accounting for the support provided by international partners.
- A thorough report on the expenditure of the contribution by the private sector, communities, and individuals
- We call for the President of Zimbabwe to institute a Commission of Enquiry into COVID-19 Funds.
1. Platform for Reporting Covid-19 Vaccine Side Effects
We commend the creation of a rapid reporting platform for members of the public to report side effects of COVID-19 side effects by the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ). We welcome this operational mechanism to substantiate a tracking and monitoring system in Government to ensure citizens easily share side effects they may have experienced after getting the Covid-19 vaccine. This would address rising concerns in the public of side effects being discussed and reported in the public by those vaccinated.
- We therefore urge citizens to utilise the MCAZ online platform: http://e-pv.mcaz.co.zw or download the MCAZ app on Android or iOS
- We reinforce our calls on accessibility of the rapid reporting platform for all sections of society including rural, digitally-limited communities and hard to reach populations.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe