Zimbabwe Lockdown: Day 405 – WCoZ Situation Report

405 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 7 May 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 38 403 after 5 new cases were reported, all are local cases. The highest case tally was recorded in Bulawayo which had 2 cases. We note that the Hospitalisation rate as at 15:00hrs on the 6th of May 2021 were 24 hospitalised cases, 0 asymptomatic case, 16 mild to moderate cases, 7 severe cases and 1 cases Intensive Care Units. We highlight gaps in provinces that did not report hospitalisation rates namely Midlands, Masvingo, Matebeleland South, Matebeleland North, Wilkins and Arundel, Wilkins, and St Anne’s in Harare province. Active cases went down to 786. The total number of recoveries went up to 36 041, increasing by 36 recoveries. The recovery rate remains at 93.8%.  A total of 22 248 people received their 1st doses of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 500 422. A total of 11 159 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 140 340. The death toll remains at 1 576 after 1 new death was recorded today.

Critical emerging issue

Recognition of the Role of Workers in Responding to the COVID-19 Crisis of Care

We highlight the role of essential service workers and workers at large in responding to the multi-layered crises spotlighted by the COVID-19. In particular, we highlight the deficiencies and thenegative economic costs of state system that do not have the capacity to address the multi-layered trauma, nation-wide that is created, facilitated and exposed by both natural and man-made crises including the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Whilst the pandemic itself was indeed not fully anticipated, the question of the inability of state systems to respond to the socio-economic stresses raised by crises remains on the table of government. This responsibility has been made graver by the undermining of the role of workers within critical services arms of the state. Essential service workers, delivering critical services in health, education, social welfare and water and sanitation have been persistently de-prioritised and undermined as they acquit the critical care work which continues to be unrecognised, unrewarded and unsupported.

  • We continue to call upon Government to fully address the conditions of service of all workers and critically to invest in addressing the crises of poor health, education and social welfare system that unnecessarily undermine all socio-economic and political efforts directed and securing the rights of citizens sustainably.

Outstanding issue

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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