447 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 18th of June 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 41 335 after 408 new cases were reported, all local. The highest case tally was recorded in Mashonaland West with 182 cases. Localised lockdown communities remains in effect in Kariba, Karoi, Kwekwe, with addition of Makonde. The following areas are noted as COVID-19 hotspots namely; in Masvingo Province Masvingo District and Chiredzi, In Mash Central Province Mt Darwin, and in Bulawayo Province Nkulumane, Emakhandeni and Northern Suburbs, and finally in Mashonaland West Province Mhangura, Chinhoyi and Chidamoyo.
We note that the Hospitalisation rate as at 15:00hrs on the 17th of June 2021 were 161 hospitalised cases, 25 asymptomatic cases, 107 mild to moderate cases, 27 severe cases and 2 cases in Intensive Care Units. All centres reported today. Active cases go up to 2 536. The total number of recoveries went up to 37 143 increasing by 34 recoveries. The recovery rate goes down to 90% from 91%. A total of 1 291 people received their 1st doses of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 700 244. A total of 4 019 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 431 153. The death toll goes up to 1 656 after 9 new deaths were recorded.
Critical emerging issues
COVID-19 Update on Mashonaland West
We note the status of the lockdown in Mashonaland West. We note the steady increase of cases recorded in Mashonaland West. We commend the increased mass community testing that has been undertaken in the province to support the efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19.
We note the reports from the province that recording an increase of over 100 cases from Monday to Thursday this week. We note further reports indicating that Hurungwe district which had 11 health care facilities had 431 positive cases and three deaths with Karoi Hospital alone having recorded 343 positive cases. We note that Kariba had 246 active cases yesterday with 239 recoveries and 13 deaths.
We take note further of the reports indicating that despite the majority of the positive cases, being recorded in urban Kariba, there are records of recorded positive cases in rural Kariba district. We highlight further reports indicating that as of April 2020, the province has recorded a cumulative figure of above 2647 and over 1980 recoveries. We commend report of increased screening at all hospitals and clinics and the current on-going testing at all 14 hospitals. We commend the up scaling of testing at clinics and the community based contact tracing of all positive cases currently underway.
- We note the barring of non-essential movement and commend the efforts to de-congest socio-economic centres in particular agro-centres. We also note the reduction of Business hours to 8am until 3pm and the strong efforts to enforcement the measures by the authorities. Further, to which we note efforts to curb inter and intra provincial travel.
- We urge Government to sustain the momentum on screening, testing and tracing and in particular to expand the community based teams to test and trace in rural communities directly.
- We continue to urge the enforcement of lockdown restrictions to the rural communities that surround the socio economic hubs of the province. We further call for the increase of Oxygen supplies and medicine stocks to support the healthcare centres.
- We call of the rolling out of e-Hospital support that is meant to provide direct support to rural communities
Critical Outstanding Issue
WHO Africa warning on full blown third wave of COVID-19 in Africa
We highlight the challenges placed by the official report of the WHO today regarding the status of COVID-19 in Africa. We highlight in particular the overall positioning of the pandemic so as to support strengthened knowledge and behavioural adjustment of policy makers and communities at large within Zimbabwe. We note the that the current wave of the pandemic is reportedly being driven by the rapid spread of new variants of the virus and low vaccination rates.
We note with grave concern, the third wave in Zambia and South Africa, our neighbours and closest trading partners along the North-South trade corridor who are experiencing sharp rises in infections, hospitalisations and increased deaths. We note further that Namibia, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo have recorded the highest weekly infections thus far.
The Delta variant, first discovered in India, is now prevalent in 14 African countries including Zimbabwe. Against limited number of the population being fully vaccinated and less than 1% of the entire African population vaccinated, we stress that there is a pressing need for the Government of Zimbabwe to double efforts to both procure and speed up the vaccination drive.
We highlight the WHO Africa position that ‘Africa is in the midst of a full-blown third wave and that the sobering trajectory of surging cases should rouse everyone into urgent action.’
- We therefore reiterate the prioritisation of the safety of frontline workers, as this impacts on the country’s level of success and efficiency towards containment of the pandemic.
- We urge provision of adequate PPE and training of all frontline responders regarding handling of this ever-evolving COVID-19 virus, in order to minimize their risk of exposure.
- We urge Government to introduce and implement measures to support home-based carers and primary care-givers in order to ease their burden and minimize further risk of transmission.
- We urge up-scaling efforts on safe Isolation centres which are not overcrowded and also cater for the needs and rights of women such as the availability of sanitary aid and sexual and reproductive health services.
- We are concerned by the test and trace system in place to support the same communities in real time
- We urge Government to upscale community testing by ensuring mobile testing is undertaken in communities
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ)