448 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 19th of June 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 41 628 after 293 new cases were reported, all local. The highest case tally was recorded in Mashonaland West with 151 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 18th of June 2021 were 188 hospitalised cases, 44 asymptomatic cases, 99 mild to moderate cases, 35 severe cases and 10 cases in Intensive Care Units. All centres reported today. Active cases go up to 2 795. The total number of recoveries went up to 37 167 increasing by 24 recoveries. The recovery rate goes down further marginally to 89% from 90%. A total of 1 104 people received their 1st doses of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 701 348. A total of 1 419 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 432 572. The death toll goes up to 1 666 after 10 new deaths were recorded.
We highlight the increased number of deaths in May 2021 wherein over 57 deaths have been recorded with the trend spilling over into June 2021. We urge citizens to take the third wave seriously and take the most responsible of actions possible to prevent exposure to the virus.
We highlight further the increased numbers of recorded infections which are averaging 119 new cases daily. We call for citizens to practically support the need to reduce infections by avoiding unnecessary movement, wearing masks properly, washing hands frequently and keeping distance as much as physically possible.
Critical emerging issues
The Re-opening of Schools for Second term during the Third Wave of COVID-19
We note that presently schools are closed as part of the winter break. We note further the eminent re-opening of schools for the second term whilst COVID-19 infections are on a rapid increase and there have been distressing records of death in education centres over the past week.
We note the deeply inter-connected relationship of schools and communities and that tracking infections of COVID-19 are critical to ensuring that communities do not spread infections to schools or that schools do not become super spreader points.
We note further that the Inter Ministerial Team on COVID-19 National Taskforce is due to deliberate on the re-opening of schools tomorrow. We are fully aware of the alarming 23% drop out rate of learners from schools and the negative consequences on the disruption of the education sector.
We continue to bemoan the limited interventions to improve access to education for learners throughout the COIVD-19 pandemic. Simultaneously, we note the present USD100 million (ZWL9.billion budgetary surplus) in the first quarter of this year, as reported by the Ministry of Finance and urge the Government to relook at investing in rapid expansion of education support services to plug the arising gaps.
- We continue to emphasise on the need to prioritise the safety of learners together with their teachers and supporting staff within the education sector.
- We urge that preventative measures for vulnerable pupils in preparedness for the resumption of schools, be clear, and transparent
We continue to note that communities have a greater burden of care in responding to COVID-19 patients as opposed to those able to access health care facilities. In the context of the community managed COVID-19 patients, we continue to raise the point that Zimbabwe’s health response is being led by households providing home based care.
We therefore highlight our concerns on home-based care and lack of the support systems to assist such households.
Given these challenges, we reiterate the need for the Ministry of Health and Child Care to officially communicate and publicize information regarding the state of Isolation centres and hospitals throughout all Provinces and Districts of Zimbabwe as the increased infections are now being recorded across the country.
- We urge Government to introduce and implement measures to support home-based care givers and primary care-givers in order to ease their burden and to minimize further risk of transmission.
- We urge up-scaling efforts on safe community isolation centres which are not overcrowded and which integrate the needs and rights of women such as the availability of sanitary aid and sexual and reproductive health services.
Critical Outstanding Issue
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 2021, 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 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
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ)