Zimbabwe Lockdown: Day 462 – WCoZ Situation Report

462 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 3rd of July 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 53 665 after 1 002 new cases were reported, all local cases. The highest case tally was recorded in Mashonaland West 287 cases. The hotspots updates are as follows; Mashonaland West Province- Kariba (27) and Chinhoyi (57). We note the absence of updates from Kasimure, Chidamoyo and Karoi. Mashonaland Central – Mazowe (20). We note the absence of updates from Guruve, Mt Darwin, Centenary and Bindura. Mashonaland East-Marondera (84) and Murewa (28), Masvingo Province – Chiredzi (15) and Masvingo (17). We note the absence of an update from Zaka, Bikita, Masvingo and Mwenezi, Midlands – Kwekwe (18), we note the absence of an update on Gweru and Zvishavane. Bulawayo Province – Nkulumane (18), Emakhandeni (30) and Northern Suburbs (42) and Harare 141.

We note that the Hospitalisation rate as at 15:00hrs on the 2nd of the July 2021 was 356 hospitalised cases: 46 New Admissions, 8 Asymptomatic cases, 271 mild to moderate cases, 56 severe cases and 21 cases in Intensive Care Units. We note that Matebeleland South did not report. 

Active cases went up to 12 014. The total number of recoveries went up to 39 792 increasing by 224 recoveries. The recovery rate went down further, from 75% to 74%. A total of 5 941 people received their 1st doses of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 791 901.  A total of 2 972 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 567 686. The death toll went up to 1 859 after 18 new deaths were recorded.

Critical emerging issues

Spotlight on Bulawayo Hospitalisation Rates

We highlight reports regarding the dire situation arising in Bulawayo, the second largest metropolitan province and city in Zimbabwe. We highlight reports indicating that Bulawayo is presently experiencing a shortage of space in wards designated for Covid-19 as hospitalisation rates soar.

We highlight reports indicating that the designated isolation centre for Bulawayo, Thorngrove Infectious Diseases Hospital is presently no longer admitting patients as they are full, and the current host of patients are sharing oxygen points. We highlight the reports indicating that as of last Friday, Thorngrove Hospital had 34 patients admitted to the hospital’s isolation wing against a bed capacity of 28.

We highlight the reportedly same scenario at the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) whereas of last Friday, 40 patients under care, whereas the facility holds a 42-bed capacity.

We highlight furthermore the 32-bed capacity for COVID-19 at Mpilo Central Hospital, had already admitted 14 patients as of last Friday leaving only 18 beds available in a rapidly escalating situation.

We highlight additionally, the conditions at Elangeni Isolation Centre which provides care to those not requiring hospitalisation with a bed capacity of 70 and having reportedly admitted 34 patients admitted as of last Friday.

We highlight further Mater Dei hospital, another health institution with a 35-bed capacity, which had reportedly admitted 9 people of last Friday despite its extremely prohibitive health fees. We therefore call for the strengthening of response and readiness in health institutions.

  • We call Government to ensure rapid anticipatory distribution of the COVID-19 medical stock and supplies to all provinces.
  • We urge the government to rapidly expand the oxygen availability and oxygen capacity for hospitals.
  • We amplify our calls to rapidly expand quality of care services such as laundry capacity at hospitals. 
  • We urge Government to increase and improve the nurse-to-patient ratio.
  • We urge Government to engage progressively through existing legislated dialogue platforms to positively and sustainably address the long-standing grievances in the health and education sectors.

Outstanding issues

Deployment of Security Forces to Enforce COVID-19 regulations

We note the announcement by Government regarding the readiness to deploy security services to assist the Zimbabwe Republic Police to enforce adherence to the lockdown regulations. We note the position of Government that demonstrates its belief that the current third wave is due primarily to community non- adherence to health and safety regulation regarding infection control.

We however proffer that the outbreak of the third wave may be attributed to a myriad of issues including the weakened responsive responsiveness and increased complacency to COVID-19 within the both the central government and outreach government services regarding vigilance and responsiveness to COVID-19 in Zimbabwe.

  • We continue to call for a fully inclusive approach and collaborative approaches of governance in addressing the COVID-19 Crisis.

Further, whilst we recognise the role to be played by the security services sector as provided by SI 83 of 2020, and other related instruments; we remain deeply concerned that the legal framework only provides penalties of violations by citizens for the COVID-19 yet does not speak to the right of recourse and protections of citizens from brutality and abuse by deployed officers.

Noting additionally; that the measures pertaining to COVID-19 Lockdown have significant operational gaps which may leave citizens unduly vulnerable to security forces, we remain concerned on the training and guidelines for deployed security officers on gender security awareness and responsiveness. Particularly when the deployment of Security Services in the past has raised serious concerns on their ability to provide their services whilst respecting the rights of women directly. Accordingly, we therefore demand that:

  • The Security Services Sector operates in accordance with the highest standard of respect for human rights, and standards of professionalism
  • The State clarifies the scope within which the deployed members of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces will operate, including
    • The level of force to be employed by enforcement officers
    • Authorisation to use arms
    • Parameters of deployment
  • The Parliament of Zimbabwe stays vigilant in exercising its mandate in terms of section 119 of the Constitution, to protect the Constitution and ensure that the State and all its institutions act constitutionally, and in the national interest
  • The Independent Commissions, particularly, the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission and the Zimbabwe Gender Commission, be on highest alert during these critical times in ensuring that fundamental human rights are protected and promoted
  • The Media’s right to undertake their constitutionally protected mandates are respected fully by the Government during this period and further we urge the Media to remain watchful and continue to report without fear nor favour, any actions by the State, which may violate the rights of citizens

Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ)

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