436 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 7th of June 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 39 238 after 49 new cases were reported, all are local. The highest case tally was recorded in Bulawayo with 19 cases. We note that the Hospitalisation rate as at 15:00hrs on the 5th of June 2021 were 73 hospitalised cases, 5 asymptomatic cases, 53 mild to moderate cases, 12 severe cases and 3 cases in Intensive Care Units. Active cases go up to 881. The total number of recoveries went up to 36 728 increasing by 18 recoveries. The recovery rate still remains at 94%. A total of 1 375 people received their 1st doses of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 688 696. A total of 4 489 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 385 275. The death toll goes up to 1 611 after 5 deaths recorded.
We continue to urge the public to remain vigilant as we endure the third wave of COVID-19 in Zimbabwe. We urge communities to fight against the COVID-19 fatigue and remember to keep their distance, wear masks properly and sanitise regularly. We draw attention to the rise in both infections and hospitalisations in the country and call for safety first as the country continues to relax COVID-19 controls.
Critical emerging issue
Extension of Localised Lockdown in Kwekwe
We note the announcement of the extension of the localised lockdown on Kwekwe by an additional two weeks after a surge in COVID-19 cases in which thus far has recorded 74 cumulative cases, 70 active cases, 3 recoveries and 1 death. We note further confirmations regarding the detection of the Indian Variant in some of the new cases. We raise questions however to the existence and enforcement of the lockdown in terms. Given the reports from our networks in Kwekwe, pointing to weak enforcement and compliance, we question the reality of this lock-down. We question why public transport in and around Kwekwe is still operating as usual, and why markets and business operators are still operating as through there has been complete relaxation of COVID-19 regulations.
We raise concern as to why private vehicles are moving freely with no active COVID-19 traffic checks in place or mobile COVID -19 screening established. We question why inter provincial buses are collecting and dropping off passengers in and around Kwekwe with no guidance or ensuring compliance to relevant COVID-19 safeguarding protocols in line with the lockdown requirements? We raise these questions particularly when we note the location of Kwekwe in the Midlands Province and on one of the country’s major highways with the ability to be a super spreader location if the lockdown is not enforced at all.
- We call for a strict enforcement of the lockdown in Kwekwe to ensure effective infection control of COVID-19
Turn Around on Vaccine-Mix?
We note the communication by the Government of Zimbabwe regarding the Johnson and Johnson Vaccine from the African Union/AfriExim Bank support facility due to Zimbabwe in the August 2021 allocation. We note the rejection of the allocation by Government is due to the country’s cold chain management systems which are ready to take up such a vaccines as well as potential side effects of the vaccine.
This position comes on the back various contextual concerns such as the presence of the Indian variant in Zimbabwe, the winter season, an increase in COVID-19 infections, a death toll of over 1 600, the slow vaccine uptake in Zimbabwe, the shortage of vaccines and the lack of transparency on the state of vaccine procurement which Zimbabwe could ostensibly afford on the back of a $9 billion mid-year budget surplus. The position of Government raises critical questions on the potential vaccine mix for Zimbabwe and the accountability required for the management of COVID-19 pandemic domestically. We highlight that it is crucial for the authorities to account for the delays in addressing an upgrade of the cold chain management systems when the indications of the need for such was present during Mid-2020 and countries were urged to note the potential need for such readiness.
Furthermore, there is need to account for the information regarding concerns on reactions to vaccines in the current mix available when there has been no proper post vaccine-monitoring that is easily available and accessible to vaccinated persons. The position then on the potential side effects of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine without full disclosure by the authorities affects the ability of the public to trust the information supporting the public positions taken
- We continue to call for Government to strengthen its anticipatory governance capacity regarding the operational and administrative readiness.
- 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 urge Parliament of Zimbabwe to exercise its mandate over the COVID-19 vaccine program
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ)