427 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 29th May 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 38 933 after 15 new cases were reported, all are local cases and of which the highest case tally was recorded in Matebeleland South with 21 cases. We note that the Hospitalisation rate as at 15:00hrs on the 27th of May 2021 were 47 hospitalised cases, 8 asymptomatic cases, 32 mild to moderate cases, 5 severe cases and 2 cases in Intensive Care Units. Active cases go up to 761. The total number of recoveries went up to 36 578 increasing by 15 recoveries. The recovery rate still remains at 94%. A total of 10 156 people received their 1st doses of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 666 785. A total of 15 513 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 335 679. The death toll goes up to 1 594.
Critical emerging issue
Effective Localised Lockdowns
We highlight issue pertaining to Localised lockdowns which are critical to consider as the likelihood of localised lockdowns are likely to characterise life post-full relaxation of the COVID-19 regulations and prior to 60% vaccination of the Zimbabwean population. We highlight the current Localised lockdown in Kwekwe and Bondolfi Teachers College in Masvingo.
We are concerned by the community reports in Kwekwe that indicate that the life is going on as per usual with very nominal signs of the lockdown being present or respected. We note further that the Kwekwe local community does not appear to have incurred notable changes in their everyday socio-economic lives despite the stringent lockdown measures announced which ought to have brought on a strong return to high level lockdown to stem the potential rise in COVID-19 cases, after confirmation of the Indian variant was first confirmed in Zimbabwe. We note the critiques arising from the community in Kwekwe regarding the weaknesses of the response to the need for a lockdown or the need for a lockdown in the first place.
In Masvingo at Bondolfi Teachers College we note the restrictions on the entire 303 population of the college with some students under quarantine and others under isolation. We note further the restrictions pertaining to visitors to the campus.
- We call for the rapid implementation of the localised lockdowns to ensure that the lockdowns are indeed effective by being put in place at the earliest moment.
- We call for expanded testing and tracing capacity in communities surrounding the outbreaks of COVID-19 to ensure that community surveillance is concrete.
- We call for full and human rights respectful, enforcement of lockdown measures on socio-economic institutions and processes including stores and markets.
- We call for community testing in places of localised lockdowns even where the outbreaks occur in what may appear as a contained community
Substantive Leadership in Critical Ministry of Health and Child Care Posts
We highlight reports that 5 major hospitals in Zimbabwe have been operating for over a year without substantive chief executive officers (CEOs). This is compounded by the continuing usage of Acting Directors in various departments in the Ministry of Health and Child Care. We continue to decry the delayed resolution of the Ministry restructuring exercise which was purported to enhance operational efficiency, effectiveness and accountability.
- We urge the immediate substantive appointments to fill in the vacant positions within the Ministry of Health and Child Care, which includes other senior positions of technical leadership of the Ministry.
- We urge prompt replacements for the 5 hospital CEOs.
- We further call for the respect of gender parity in all appointments.
We continue to call for the appointment of gender experts at all levels of the COVID-19 response taskforce teams
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ)