Zimbabwe Lockdown: Day 404 – WCoZ Situation Report

404 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 6 May 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 38 398 after 41 new cases were reported, all are local cases. The highest case tally was recorded in Matabeleland South which had 26 cases. We note that the Hospitalisation rate as at 15:00hrs on the 5th of May 2021 were 25 hospitalised cases, 4 asymptomatic case, 14 mild to moderate cases, 5 severe cases and 2 cases Intensive Care Units.  Active cases went down to 796. The total number of recoveries went up to 36 027, increasing by 216 recoveries. The recovery rate remains at 93%.  A total of 17 151 people received their 1st doses of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 478 174. A total of 13 971 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 129 181. The death toll remains at 1 574 after no new death was recorded.

We commend WHO approval of Sinopharm, the Pfizer/BioNTech, Astrazeneca-SK Bio, Serum Institute of India, Janssen and Moderna vaccines for emergency use.

Critical emerging issue

Social Protection measures

We continue to amplify our concern that the majority of women in Zimbabwe and women-led  households are  facing the biggest impacts in food security, income loss, and care-giving burdens. We emphasize the need for prioritization of  women’s access to social safety nets during COVID-19, taking due cognisance of the fact that a majority of women in the informal sector, such as the cross-border traders, have suffered severe loss of livelihoods. While noting the announcement regarding the increase for the amount to be distributed to beneficiaries of the Cash Transfer System for vulnerable persons in COVID-19 from ZWL$300 to ZWL1500, we are concerned that the disbursements have not yet been distributed to beneficiaries.

We continue to recommend that Government announces the direct distribution of basic commodities and food in communities similar to the subsidized mealie meal distribution program.

  • We recommend the expedition of the distribution of cash transfers to beneficiaries.
  • We call for the adequate funding of National Social Protection Policy Framework.
  • We therefore urge Government to expand social safety nets and offset economic impacts for COVID19.
  • We reinforce our calls for the provision of support for households who are no longer able to sustain themselves due to loss of livelihoods, especially women-led households.

Outstanding issues

Sustained Engagement to Prevent Risk of Resurgence of COVID-19

We highlight the alarm raised by the WHO on Africa and the COVID-19 pandemic at this stage. We highlight that WHO, having reviewed the COVID-19 pandemic in 46 countries raises critical issues for Zimbabwe’s urgent attention. The expansion of relaxation measures, combined with poor adherence to COVID-19 public health measures are a mix that threatens a resurgence of the virus especially against a background of low vaccination rates, the rise of variants in Eastern and Southern Africa, significant under-testing, and under-reporting. We buttress the WHO position that, the rates of COVID-19 in Africa are grossly understated. We note the concern raised by the WHO on 36 countries testing running less than 10 tests for every 100 000 persons.

We are fully aware that Zimbabwe is gripped by COVID-19 fatigue at all levels, policy makers, communities, and the essential frontline service sectors. Indeed, we acknowledge that it is financially cheaper to invest in vaccine procurement and administration as opposed to seeking to enhance testing and tracing capacity in the country. However, in light of the conditions on the ground, the missing data on the prevalence of new mutations and variants and the low rate of vaccination the risk of the resurgence of COVID-19 must be addressed concretely as these risks may completely undermine the collective efforts taken over the past 400 days to address the pandemic locally.

We continue to highlight that WHO has noted with concern that most of the new COVID-19 infections “are still not being detected among known contacts,” which is supported by reports from community members. We highlight the community experiences are supportive of the WHO findings that “Investigation of clusters of cases and contact tracing are worryingly low in most countries in the region. As such;

  • We urge sustained and scale up testing including through rapid diagnostic tests to enhance response to the pandemic,

Therefore, as we commend the capacity building and training of Provincial Education and Health focal teams to ensure effective COVID-19 response in schools.

  • We continue to call for the strengthening operations, in particular the testing and tracing capacity of healthcare staff in non-metropolitan provinces.
  • We continue to call for mass expansion of non-static vaccination programs and for the vaccines to be administered in socio-economic community centres as opposed to health centres.

Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ)

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