434 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 5th of June 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 39 168 after 24 new cases were reported, all are local cases and of which the highest case tally was recorded in Bulawayo with 7 cases. We note that the Hospitalisation rate as at 15:00hrs on the 5th of June 2021 were 55 hospitalised cases, 4 asymptomatic cases, 40 mild to moderate cases, 8 severe cases and 3 cases in Intensive Care Units. Active cases go up to 865. The total number of recoveries went up to 36 698 increasing by 8 recoveries. The recovery rate still remains at 94%. A total of 1 072 people received their 1st doses of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 686 636. A total of 4 641 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 375 315. We remains at 1605.
Critical emerging issue
Access to Information on COVID-19 Pandemic
We continue to 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 note that this failure to adequately account and be fully transparent in regards to the vaccine availability has occurred when there are calls for full disclosure on the status of vaccine availability vaccine stock management and vaccine procurement.
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 2021 in Zimbabwe.
Shortage of vaccines and Protests against vaccine shortages
We continue to highlight reports of the shortage of COVID-19 vaccine at various vaccination centres across the country. We highlight the reports of protests of persons going for second doses of the vaccines at various vaccination centres. We highlight the problematic reports of vaccines being made available under the counter from frontline workers as a result of the shortages. We highlight also to lack of acknowledgement and lack of communications regarding vaccines shortages from the Government and the COVID-19 IMT.
We continue to highlight the significant set-back that such shortages and poor communication of the same to the public is fuelling unnecessary speculation pertaining to the vaccination program within Zimbabwe.
We note with concern reports of citizens who have been turned away due to shortage of the first doses of the vaccine at vaccine centres inoculation centres. Compounded against this is report of the short supplies of the second dose of the vaccine which threatens to hamper effort made by citizens who already began their vaccine journeys.
The gravity of the shortage vaccines with the threat of the third wave of COVID-19 driven by winter seasons and the presence of the Indian variant is a critical matter which seeks immediate and urgent attention.
- We continue to call for urgent operational measures to ensure that large vaccine centre with greater numbers of persons getting vaccinated are supported with doses from lower number vaccine centres
- We particularly call for accountability from Treasury directly, which has repeatedly assured citizens that the supplies of vaccines have been supported by both increased uptake of international debt and budget surpluses and monthly procurement to explain this discrepancy.
- We continue to call for an expansion of the vaccines mix available in Zimbabwe to support the vaccine programme.
- We call for Parliament of Zimbabwe to exercise its mandate over the COVID-19 vaccine program.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ)