410 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 12 May 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 38 466 after 18 new cases were reported, all are local cases. The highest case tally was recorded in Manicaland which had 5 cases. We note that the Hospitalisation rate as at 15:00hrs on the 11th of May 2021 were 19 hospitalised cases, 3 asymptomatic case, 8 mild to moderate cases, 6 severe cases and 2 cases Intensive Care Units. We highlight gaps in provinces that did not report hospitalisation rates namely Midlands, Mashonaland West, Mashonaland Central, and Wilkins, St Anne’s and Arundel hospitals in Harare. Active cases go down to 610. The total number of recoveries went up to 36 277 increasing by 56 recoveries. The recovery rate remains at 94.2%. A total of 10 271 people received their 1st doses of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 549 797. A total of 10 322 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 180 568. The death toll remains at 1 579.
Critical emerging issue
Access to Information on COVID-19 Pandemic.
We highlight research reports by the Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ) on access to information by the media in the midst of the pandemic. The report reveals the experiences of the media practitioners during the pandemic in accessing information, effectiveness of Government communication and implications of various statutory Instruments.
We highlight with concern, such difficulties which include officials unjustifiably withholding critical information, not eager to share details and in particular, the referral of journalists to several other offices in order to access information. This has driven the perceptions of secrecy in critical information regarding the pandemic. We highlight further, the critique regarding the quality of information where media practitioners have raised concern over the application of “a cut and paste-information dissemination policy which has left journalists and citizens partially ignorant on pertinent issues about the respiratory pandemic.”
- We urge Government and stakeholders to adopt and sustain the principle of access to information in a manner that reflects the constitutional fundamental freedoms and values of Zimbabwe.
- We continue to call upon Government to adopt and maintain the highest quality levels of information dissemination and data sharing with the public.
- We amplify our calls for establishment of a Commission of Enquiry on the management of the COVID-19 Pandemic in 2022 in Zimbabwe.
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.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ)