415 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 17 May 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 38 572 after 12 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 16th of May 2021 were 27 hospitalised cases, 1 asymptomatic case, 16 mild to moderate cases, 8 severe cases and 2 cases Intensive Care Units. We highlight the provinces that did not report hospitalisation rates namely Masvingo, Mashonaland West, in Harare province Arundel, St Anne’s and Wilkins. Active cases go down to 641. The total number of recoveries went up to 36 349 increasing by 20 recoveries. The recovery rate remains at 94.2%. A total 10 193 people received their 1st doses of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 591 808. A total of 7 118 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 222 450. The death toll remains at 1 582 after no new deaths were recorded.
Our monitoring reports continue to indicate that communities continuously disregard the use of masks and other preventative measures. This has been increased in markets, economic activity areas and public transport transit points where citizens continue to move around without observing physical distancing, improperly wearing masks, with noses exposed and, in some instances, outrightly wearing masks on their chins.
- We urge communities and citizens to follow the proper use of masks. We further urge citizens to overcome COVID-19 fatigue as we enter the cold seasons and ensure strict compliance with the public health guidelines, in their day to day lives.
- We urge the Government to step up efforts to combat COVID-19 fatigue as infections continue to increase and as the cold season is upon us to avoid a third wave.
Critical emerging issue
Reduced media coverage of COVID-19
We note, with growing concern, reduced media coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic in Zimbabwe, as the Nation continues to implement the vaccination programme and threats of variants and mutations remain. We further note the COVID-19 fatigue not only amongst communities, but also amongst stakeholders, duty bearers, the media and information community. As the cold season is upon the nation, we reiterate that the vigilance of the press to COVID-19 issues domestically remains critical.
Cognisant of the key role played by the media in addressing matters of national concern;
- We urge the media to remain vigilant to the pandemic in Zimbabwe.
- We call upon the editors and respective newsrooms to continue to prioritise the coverage and reporting of COVID-19 as we face the threat of a third wave outbreak in winter.
Monitoring of Variants in Zimbabwe
We take note of the continuing measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Zimbabwe, in particular travel related containment measures. However, we seek an update regarding the Variants of COVID-19 currently spreading in Zimbabwe. This update remains critical at this time to support the response mechanism of communities and the public to adherence to anti-COVID-19 measures. We note the concerns of communities to the potential presence of the variant which has been identified in India and also the potential changes in the variants and mutations which were already circulating locally.
- We urge the Ministry of Health and Child Care to update on the current mutations and variants identified in Zimbabwe.
Slow Pace of Vaccination
We highlight the continued slow pace of vaccination. We remain concerned that whist in comparison to other States, Zimbabwe vaccination is performing well, we continue to gauge against our own national standards as set in the National Vaccination Program which we continue to fail to meet. With the onset of winter and potential rise of COVID-19 as a seasonal risk, we call for a change in gear in the approach taken to support increased vaccination uptake, including expansion of vaccine mix, spread of vaccine centres to economic and social centres and a different messaging tools to ensure that those who seek vaccination are able to actually access vaccines.
- We urge Government to support the storage facilities of vaccines in rural communities are marginalised communities in light of 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
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ)