441 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 12th of June 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 39 852 after 164 new cases were reported, all are local. The highest case tally was recorded in Bulawayo with 26 cases. Localised lockdown communities today recorded new cases as follows; Kariba 59 cases, Karoi 118 cases, Kwekwe 78 cases.
We note that the Hospitalisation rate as at 15:00hrs on the 11th of June 2021 were 98 hospitalised cases, 27 asymptomatic cases, 58 mild to moderate cases, 11 severe cases and 2 cases in Intensive Care Units. Active cases go up to 1 228. The total number of recoveries went up to 36 992 increasing by 22 recoveries. The recovery rate remains at 93%. A total of 929 people received their 1st doses of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 692 180. A total of 5 615 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 411 218. The death toll goes up to 1 632 after 3 deaths recorded.
We highlight with concern the four fold increase of deaths which are now at 26 as compared to the same period last year during the lockdown. We send our deepest condolences to families and communities in grief and urge the nation to take the highest possible levels vigilance in seeking to reduce exposure and prevent infection.
Critical emerging issues
Localised Lockdown Measures
We highlight the announcement of the localised Lockdown in Kwekwe in the Midlands Province, Kariba and Hurungwe Districts in Mashonaland West province following the spike in COVID-19 cases recorded in Kwekwe, Kariba and Karoi.
We note further the broad-based measures announced to be in effect as from Monday the 14th of June 2021 (tomorrow) which indicates a strengthened attempt to control infections in the general populace. Against the general announced measures, we continue to seek clear guidelines which are to be implemented in cases which are enduring sharp increases in recorded cases of COVID-19.
We call for government to ensure equality and equity in the measures as they are designed and implemented so that localised lockdowns are not only on paper but are comprehensively implemented and that hotspot communities receive targeted medical and socio-economic support to overcome the third wave.
- We urge Government to increase its level of readiness and preparedness by addressing questions of medical stock availability including oxygen supplies.
- We urge increased bio-medical tracing of the COVID-19 variants at play and driving the third wave.
- We recommend strengthened community based mass testing and contact tracing.
- We call for 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
Measures to contain third wave
We note the announcement 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 as it call for the digitisation of work and other socio economic activities.
- We call on government to provide support by ensuring consistency in the availability of power and energy during the third wave this winter season.
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.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ)