409 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 11 May 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 38 488 after 15 new cases were reported, all are local cases. The highest case tally was recorded in Harare which had 6 cases. We note that the Hospitalisation rate as at 15:00hrs on the 10th of May 2021 were 24 hospitalised cases, 3 asymptomatic case, 14 mild to moderate cases, 6 severe cases and 1 cases Intensive Care Units. We highlight gaps in provinces that did not report hospitalisation rates namely Matebeleland South, Masvingo, Midlands, Mashonaland West and Wilkins, St Anne’s and Arundel hospitals in Harare. Active cases go down to 648. The total number of recoveries went up to 36 221 increasing by 13 recoveries. The recovery rate remains at 94.2%. A total of 10 166 people received their 1st doses of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 539 526. A total of 8 953 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 170 246. The death toll remains at 1 579 after 3 new deaths were recorded.
Critical emerging issue
Difficulties with Testing and Tracing of COVID-19
Well aware that there is policy and operational shift to vaccination as opposed to testing and tracing of COVID-19, we continue to question the reach of community surveillance systems in the midst of reports of limited access to PCR tests and delays in deliveries of Antigen Tests. We are concerned by the test and trace system in place to support the same communities in real time. We highlight that a high rate of mass community testing and tracing is a critical element for effective COVID-19 control.
- We urge Government to upscale community testing by ensuring mobile testing is undertaken in communities.
- We call for prioritization of testing and tracing, whilst vaccination is on-going.
- We are concerned by the limited and static nature of the vaccine program which is not connecting to where people are but rather heavily centralised and not mobile.
Establishment of COVID-19 Virtual Hospital
We highlight the limitations of the Zimbabwe’s health sector which have been laid excruciatingly bare, by the COVID-19 pandemic. We note that the treatment and management of COVID-19 in Zimbabwe has largely been outsourced to individuals and in particular to women in communities, who have borne the burden of supporting the treatment and management of COVID at home with limited to non-existent state health support throughout the duration of the pandemic.
We therefore place a spotlight on the announcement by Government of the Establishment of the Virtual Hospital which will provide virtual support to the patients with COVID-29 being treated and assisted by heath officials at home to cover 10 000 to 20 000 home-based beds.
- As we await the revelation of the virtual hospital plans, we will continue to call upon the Government to ensure that rural communities are directly supported to access these care facilities and that home based care is resourced by the State.
We reinforce our recommendation for Government to reveal economic measures to relieve the pressures of households bearing the costs of the pandemic and support the capacity of households to recover economically.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ)