442 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 13th of June 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 39 959 after 107 new cases were reported, all are local. The highest case tally was recorded in Masvingo with 64 cases. Localised lockdown communities cases were not recorded as previously committed to by Government.
We note that the Hospitalisation rate as at 15:00hrs on the 12th of June 2021 were 89 hospitalised cases, 17 asymptomatic cases, 54 mild to moderate cases, 16 severe cases and 2 cases in Intensive Care Units. Active cases went up to 1 323. The total number of recoveries went up to 37 004 increasing by 12 recoveries. The recovery rate remains at 93%. A total of 967 people received their 1st doses of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 693 147. A total of 2 693 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 413 911. The death toll stands at 1 632.
We continue to 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
US Centres for Disease Control Ranking of Zimbabwe as low risk
We note the listing of Zimbabwe as a low risk country and the positive implications for the travel and tourism sector of Zimbabwe which has been hard hit by COVID-19 restrictions. We note further the welcome response by the Government of Zimbabwe to this listing by the US health body.
- We urge the Government of Zimbabwe to take direct active and accelerated steps to protect this listing by aggressively implementing mass community testing and tracing measures to ensure that the testing and tracing of COVID-19 is proactive and gives the country ample time to adjust its response in order to save lives and protect livelihoods.
- We urge the Government of Zimbabwe to ensure measures to control infection are not only on paper but are effected in real terms comprehensively
COVID-19 fatigue among new restrictions
We note, with alarm the complacency that has set in among all layers of Zimbabwean society in regards to COVID-19 measures. We note with concern that today the first day of the increased restrictions the reports from our community monitors continue to indicate a broad-based trend of lack of urgency and complacency in adhering to face mask wearing, frequent sanitisation and keeping of distance. We note further that compounding the problem appears to be weak messaging to effect change of behaviour in fatigued citizens and communities. We note with alarm, the relaxed approach to enforcement of recently announced restrictions broadly.
- We call for fresh and invested messaging and public health communication on the third wave in Zimbabwe and an urge for community behavioural change immediately to stem a potential crisis.
- We call for full enforcement of lockdown measures, respectful of human rights and freedoms, in socio-economic institutions and centres including stores and markets.
- We continue to call for the strict implementation of public health safety protocols in the public transport
- We call for community testing in places of localised lockdowns even where the outbreaks occur in what may appear as a contained community
Monitoring of Variants in Zimbabwe
We note with concern reports indicating that South Africa our largest trading partner is presently recording and tracing over 30 variants of note, and we are alive to the fact that this has implications for both Zimbabwe and South Africa in regards to measures to contain COVID-19. Whilst we are fully aware of the continuing measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Zimbabwe, in particular travel-related containment measures, we continue to seek an update regarding the tracking and tracing of COVID-19 Variants of concern in currently in Zimbabwe. This update remains critical at this time to support the response mechanism of communities and the public to adherence to anti-COVID-19 measures.
We note the concerns of communities to the potential presence of the variant which has been identified in India and also the potential changes in the variants and mutations which were already circulating locally.
- We urge the Ministry of Health and Child Care to update on the current mutations and variants identified and in circulation in Zimbabwe
Critical Outstanding Issue
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 today Monday the 14th of June 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.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ)