Zimbabwe Lockdown: Day 394 – WCoZ Situation Report

394 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 27 April 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 38 102 after 16 new cases were reported, all are local cases. The highest case tally was recorded in Matebeleland North which had 7 cases. We note that the Hospitalisation rate as at 15:00hrs on the 25th of April 2021 went up to 36 hospitalised cases, 13 asymptomatic case, 13 mild to moderate cases, 7 severe cases and 3 cases Intensive Care Units. We highlight gaps in provinces not reporting hospitalisation rates on the day namely Midlands, Masvingo, Mashonaland West, UBH in Bulawayo and in Harare province Wilkins, St Anne’s, and Arundel.

Active cases went down to 1 393. The total number of recoveries went up to 35 149, increasing by 26 recoveries. The recovery rate remains at 92.2%.  A total of 17 234 people received their 1st doses of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 353 834. A total of 5 807 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 53 418. The death toll goes up to 1 560 after 3 deaths were recorded.

Critical emerging issue

1. Challenges with Testing of COVID-19

We are concerned by the low levels of testing being conducted during a period where we are recording increased COVID-19 cases across several provinces. We continue to question the reach of community surveillance systems amid reports of limited access to PCR tests and delays in deliveries of Antigen Tests.

  • We urge Government to upscale community testing by ensuring mobile testing is undertaken in communities
  • We call for prioritisation of testing and tracing whilst vaccination is on-going.

2. Slow Pace of Vaccination

We highlight the continued slow pace of vaccination. We highlight the case of Mashonaland West province which in the last week had only managed to vaccinate 6000 people only. Mashonaland West province has an estimated population of 1.5 million people who are currently being supported by 208 clinics serving as vaccination centres.  

While noting that the low uptake could also be due to negative publicity on social media, we also highlight that the limited and static nature of the vaccine program is not connecting to where people are but rather heavily centralised and not mobile.

  • We call for the Government to support the storage facilities of vaccines in rural communities are marginalised communities considering the slow vaccination drive.
  • We call for Government to shed light on public concerns on the expiry rate of vaccines to dispel fears in the public domain

Outstanding issue

1. Vaccination versus COVID-19 Infection control measures

We highlight to the public that current evidence shows that the existing COVID-19 vaccines are effective at preventing disease, however the global science community is clear that there is still great uncertainty if vaccines can prevent people from becoming infected with the virus.

We remind citizens that being vaccinated will stop the vaccine recipient from getting sick but will not stop the vaccine recipient from passing the virus onto others.

  • Once again, we call for those vaccinated and those considering getting vaccinated that the rules apply to them as well. Persons who have been vaccinated must wash hands, wear masks properly, and keep their distance from others.

Whilst fully aware that no vaccine is 100% effective yet.

  • We highlight remaining scientific uncertainties about how the vaccines work in specific age groups such as children, and how effective they are against emerging variants of the virus.
  • We continue to call for adherence to physical distancing, wearing of facemasks and regular temperature checks by businesses both formal and informal.
  • We call for enforcement agents to strengthen efforts to ensure adherence to COVID-19 prevention measures whilst fully 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.

Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ)

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