417 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 19 May 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 38 612 after 17 new cases were reported, all are local cases. The highest case tally was recorded in Harare which had 4 cases. We note that the Hospitalisation rate as at 15:00hrs on the 18th of May 2021 were 20 hospitalised cases, 3 asymptomatic case, 12 mild to moderate cases, 4 severe cases and 1 case Intensive Care Units. We highlight the provinces that did not report hospitalisation rates namely Masvingo, Midlands, Mashonaland West, Manicaland, Matabeleland South, in Harare province Arundel, St Anne’s and Wilkins. Active cases go down to 613. The total number of recoveries went up to 36 416 increasing by 45 recoveries. The recovery rate goes up marginally to 94.3%. A total 4 977 people received their 1st doses of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 605 556. A total of 7 753 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 239 128. The death toll remains at 1 583 after no new death was recorded.
Noting that as the vaccination drives goes past the 600 000 mark, the rise of variants and the efficacy of existing variants to the vaccines is an issue for Zimbabwe. Taking note further of difficulties in Seychelles where there is a wave of COVID infections despite an over 90% vaccination rate, with a similar vaccine mix to that of Zimbabwe. We therefore amplify our calls for vigilance and readiness by policymakers and critical stakeholders, to the context of Zimbabwe in addressing COVID-19 and strengthening the Response plan.
Critical emerging issue
Prevalence of B.1.617 (India variant) in Zimbabwe
We note the announcement of the localised outbreak in Kwekwe confirming that the COVID-19 variant B.1.617 pre-dominantly found in India, has become prevalent in Zimbabwe. We note further the measures applied in response to this, which include a mandatory quarantine period for all travellers from India for 10days post arrival. We note that travellers will be required to have a PCR test certificate which was issued at least 48 hours prior to their arrival in Zimbabwe.
- We reinforce calls for vigilance in community mass testing systems.
- We urge expansion of the tracing teams to ensure stronger community surveillance.
- We further call for the increase of Oxygen supplies and operational readiness to ensure focused support to provinces that report prevalence of the variant.
- We urge amplification of messages to ensure communities respect the Anti-COVID-19 prevention measures.
Use of masks
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.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ)