Zimbabwe Lockdown: Day 440 – WCoZ Situation Report

440 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 11th of June 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 39 496 after 192 new cases were reported, all are local. The highest case tally was recorded in Mashonaland West with 82 cases. We note that the Hospitalisation rate as at 15:00hrs on the 10th of June 2021 were 82 hospitalised cases, 39 asymptomatic cases, 33 mild to moderate cases, 8 severe cases and 2 cases in Intensive Care Units. Active cases go up to 1 089. The total number of recoveries went up to 36 970 increasing by 30 recoveries. The recovery rate goes down marginally to 93% from 94%. A total of 799 people received their 1st doses of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 691 251.  A total of 6 549 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 405 603. The death toll goes up to 1 629 after 3 deaths recorded.

We note 596 new cases of COVID-19 recorded in the last seven days and we accordingly take note of the response by Government below.

Critical emerging issues

Measures to contain third wave

We note the announcement today of the measures to contain the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Zimbabwe which will take effect on Monday the 14th of June 2021. We note the prohibition of all gatherings, which includes weddings, music festivals / events, sporting activities and church gatherings. We further note that only funeral  gatherings are permitted with the maximum number of 30 persons in attendance. We note the urging of Government for socio economic activities to be shifted onto digital platforms and the direct statement that conferences and meetings be held virtually. We note that the informal sector in particular people’s markets, including Mbare, Sakubva, Machipisa, etc, must close at 6pm. We note that Bottle Stores to operate from 10am to 4pm. Whilst, hotel bars and restaurants are restricted to serving only residents, we note that fast foods outlets will no longer host sit-in customers and will strictly serve take-away meals only. We note further that the Tobacco auction floors  are to continue operate under monitored regulations and employees will be required to have a 2 weeks valid Covid19 test certificate. In light of these restrictions, 

  • We continue to critique the responsibility of markets to self-enforce measures with limited State-support of COVID-19 safety products and PPE, particularly in disadvantaged and marginalised communities.
  • We urge  increased enforcement of COVID-19 control measures and enforcement measures to ensure increased compliance to infection control.
  • Whilst we note the banning of vending around tobacco auction floors, we continue to call for support to the producers of tobacco, the farmers directly with sector support to testing and tracing and vaccination services to the highly mobile community during the peak trading season.
  • We reinforce our calls for vigilance and strong adherence to public transport measures to ensure a reduction in cases and potential super spreader events.  
  • We amplify calls for the establishment of mobile screening centres on the country highways to counter the risks of the inter-provincial travel.   
  • We call on government to ensure access to affordable data and consistency in electricity availability.

While we note the mandatory testing of all incoming people from Hotspot countries at their own cost.  

  • We continue to question the effectiveness of the current follow up / verification measures for the voluntary lockdowns.
  • We continue to raise concerns over the weak measures to test and trace passengers in transit particularly by road through Zimbabwe.  
  • We  request a Zimbabwean update of the countries categorised as Hotspot countries in light of shifts in the pandemic globally.

Extended Localised Lockdown in Kariba and Hurungwe District

We highlight the announcement of the localised Lockdown in Kariba and Hurungwe Districts in Mashonaland West province following a record of more than 40 cases over three days. We continue to reiterate the concerns from our community observers who are indicating laxity in adherence to mask wearing, frequent sanitisation and keeping distance in social and economic activities. We note that the lockdown will be in place for two weeks and will be reviewed at the end of that period. We note further that that those who reside outside of the two districts will be prohibited from entering the districts.

While our networks continue to monitor the implementation of lockdown measures within the district to ensure the effectiveness of the lockdown.

  • We recommend a strengthened community-based mass testing and contact tracing.
  • We urge the provision of community isolation centres with adequate support for isolated patients to receive substantive care and support.
  • We call for increased attention to curbing COVID-19 in the agricultural sector activities which include significant movement at this time in communities and call for implementation of strict infection control measures in communities and centres of socio-economic activities.

Critical Outstanding Issue

Extended Localised Lockdown in Kwekwe

We highlight the announcement  made earlier this  week on the extension of the localised lockdown on Kwekwe by an additional two weeks after a surge in COVID-19 cases in the district. We note further confirmations regarding the detection of the Indian Variant in some of the new cases. We continue to raise questions however to the existence and enforcement of the lockdown in real terms. Given the reports from our networks in Kwekwe, pointing to continued weak enforcement and compliance, we question the reality of this lock-down, particularly in relation to the following:

  • Why is public transport in and around Kwekwe  still operating as usual?
  • Why do private vehicles continue to move freely with no active COVID-19 traffic checks in place or mobile COVID -19 screening established?
  •  Why are inter provincial buses collecting and dropping off passengers in and around Kwekwe with no guidance on how this should be adjusted to meet the lockdown stated?

We raise these questions particularly as 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 therefore call for a strict enforcement of the lockdown in Kwekwe to ensure effective infection control of COVID-19.

Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ)

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