Zimbabwe Lockdown: Day 456 – WCoZ Situation Report

456 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 27th  of June 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 46 442 after 424 new cases were reported, all local. The highest case tally was recorded in Mashonaland West with 195 cases. Localised lockdown updates are as follows: Kariba (15), Karoi (45) and Chinhoyi (20). We note the lack of update from Kwekwe. The hotspots updates are as follows; Mashonaland West Province- Chinere (37), Doro (12), Masvingo Province- Bikita (10) and Chiredzi (13); Mashonaland Central – Shamva (20), Mashonaland East-Marondera (12), . In Bulawayo Province – Nkulumane (9), Emakhandeni (5) and Northern Suburbs (13).

We note that the Hospitalisation rate as at 15:00hrs on the 28th of June 2021 was 297 hospitalised cases:  23 New Admissions, 75 Asymptomatic cases, 163 mild to moderate cases, 55 severe cases and 4 cases in Intensive Care Units. We note that Matebeleland South did not report.  

Active cases went up to 6 889. The total number of recoveries went up to 37 817 increasing by 56 recoveries. The recovery rate went down further, marginally, from 82% to 81%. A total of 8 961 people received their 1st doses of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 756 291.  A total of 16 790 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 518 968. The death toll went up to 1 736 after 11 new deaths were recorded.

Critical emerging issues

Approval of Ivermectin for Treatment and Management of COVID-19

We note the announcement of the approval of Ivermectin for the treatment and management of COVID-19 based on research undertaken and the announcement by the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ) on the bulk importation of human consumption formulations of Ivermectin.  

We note the approval as the third wave sets in and take note of measures to strengthen the treatment and management of COVID-19 as hospitalisation cases rise especially in rural health centres.

  • We urge the authorities to remain at the frontlines of treatment and management of COVID-19 as is being undertaken in different countries.
  • We urge the increased provision of oxygen to rural health care centres to support patients requiring the same.
  • We urge the provision of access to healthcare workers to support remote communities in distress and whose access to health care centres is severely hampered by lack of access to transport. 

Revitalisation of the COVID-19 National Vaccination Program

We commend the measures to procure 2.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines. We note the arrival of the 500 000 doses this weekend and the additional doses on their way. We note that the past two weeks have been characterised by a severe slowdown of vaccination with some vaccines centres fully shut down , while  others have only been offering second doses. While we note various contradictory pronouncements by the authorities over the possibility of  mandatory vaccination, we urge Government against such unnecessary policy measures. We re-iterate that vaccination is driven by strong clear communication systems and complete full disclosure of the vaccine products, support mechanisms to those vaccinated and transparency over local and international data on vaccines.

  • We therefore call for the rolling out of mobile vaccination programs to rural areas, directly supported with robust messaging and information dissemination campaigns. This should connect to the reality of hotspots largely being rural communities which have been grossly underserviced in all aspects of responding to the pandemic.
  • We recommend the provision of vaccines at Tobacco Sales Floors and GMB collection points and depots, especially noting that the rural-based small scale agricultural producers have not been covered at all bio-medically by all aspects of pandemic response. As such, the third wave is a time to shift focus and operating modalities.
  • We reiterate calls for expansion of logistical support to both the vaccination drive and the pandemic response. We recommend an “all hands-on deck” management response as opposed to the poor management that have been evidenced in the public domain.
  • We urge Government to publicly update the nation on the procurement schedule which we will continue to monitor, especially with 2 million doses of the Sino-pharm vaccine expected  from China by month-end.
  • We continue to call for Government to uphold it governance commitments and obligations to the nation by establishing a Commission of Inquiry on the COVID-19 pandemic in Zimbabwe

Outstanding issues

Demolitions during COVID-19 Pandemic

We highlight the on-going demolitions of over 1 000 properties within Harare, Chitungwiza, Marondera communities targeting both housing and informal business communities. We condemn the widespread demolitions being undertaken by various local authorities. We note that this unfortunate process is taking place in the middle of winter, whilst the Government is purportedly seeking to protect and promote the lives and livelihoods of a population that has been battered by the COVID-19.

We highlight the negative socio-economic implications of such demolitions on affected households and communities, particularly during COVID-19. We highlight the World Bank report that indicates that 49% of Zimbabweans have been plunged into poverty by the pandemic and as such the demolitions appear disconnected to the realities of the struggling communities and households who are already facing unprecedented COVID-19- induced socio-economic pressures.

Whilst we are fully cognisant of the need to regularise and ensure that housing settlements and business structures are in full compliance with the law, environmental protection guidelines and urban development standards, we question the administrative and operational mechanisms that support such actions during a pandemic.

  • We call for the rapid provision of housing to the affected communities in particular those who are left out in the open post the demolitions.
  • We call for the urgent provision of social welfare support to affected communities.
  • We call for the re-opening of the COVID-19 welfare fund to specifically address communities in distress as part of the expenditure of the USD100 million surplus. 

Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ)

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