466 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 7th of July 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 60 227 after 2264 new cases were reported, all local cases. The highest case tally was recorded in Mashonaland West at 401 cases. The hotspots updates are as follows; Mashonaland West Province- Kariba (18), Chidamoyo (28), Karoi (22), Chinhoyi (48), we note the absence of updates from Kasimure, and Nyamunga. Mashonaland Central – Mazowe (40). We note the absence of updates from Centenary, Mt Darwin, Guruve and Bindura. Mashonaland East-Seke (73), Mutoko (40), we note the absence of updates from Marondera, Murehwa, and Goromonzi. Masvingo Province – Chiredzi (48), Masvingo (43) we note the absence of an update from Gutu, Zaka, Bikita and Mwenezi, Midlands Province – Kwekwe (34), we note the continued absence of an update on Gweru and Zvishavane. Bulawayo Province – Nkulumane (24), Emakhandeni (28) and Northern Suburbs (70), Harare 336. Masvingo Province did not report.
We note that the Hospitalisation rate as at 15:00hrs on the 6th of the July 2021 was 542 hospitalised cases: 135 New Admissions, 104 Asymptomatic cases, 351 mild to moderate cases, 69 severe cases and 17 cases in Intensive Care Units.
Active cases went up to 15 924. The total number of recoveries went up to 42 330 increasing by 706 recoveries. The recovery rate goes down, further to 70% from 72%. A total of 11 425 people received their 1st doses of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 819 058. A total of 4 765 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 579 699. The death toll went up to 1 973 after 34 new deaths were recorded.
We note and applaud the delivery of 2 million doses of the Sinovac COVID-19 Vaccine from China, amidst vaccine shortages experienced in the past weeks. We call for an increase in mobile vaccination points and a systemic mass publication of vaccination centres including their operating hours and the vaccines available and the numbers of persons manageable by centres per day.
Critical emerging issues
Interventions on the High Costs of Testing for COVID-19
We highlight the reports and reality of the high costs of testing for COVID-19, in particular the PCR tests. We note the context presently include custodial sentences for travellers into Zimbabwe or leaving Zimbabwe who may present fake COVID-19 certificates. We note further, the rise of the infections, in hospitalisations and deaths of COVID-19 which require a re-prioritisation of the test and trace mechanisms.
We highlight the measures to support increased and accessible COVID-19 testing through the removal of customs duties for COVID-19 test kits as per Statutory Instrument 88 of 2020, Customs and Excise (General) (Amendment) Regulations, 2020 (No. 101).
Accordingly, we note further, reports that indicate that the widely used test kits imported from China namely the Nantong Diagnosis Covid-19 and Covid-19 Antigen Rapid Test Kit, are being imported at between one US$1 dollar and US$10 for 1 000 units. These costs are in stark contrast to the actual costs of testing in Zimbabwe which range between USD$50 to USD75 per test. We further highlight the limited reach of testing which is relying on areas where pre-identified cases are present and not proactively seeking or ensuring other hotspots are detected through the normal testing of citizens.
- We call for the reduction of test costs to ensure that private sector and the general socio-economic activities which encourage testing are accessible through affordable testing services to communities.
- We reiterate our call for Government to intervene in this public health emergency and actively ensure that reduction of testing costs throughout Zimbabwe
Chaos at Vaccination Centres
We highlight once more the inability of the Vaccines centres to easily and equitably roll out an efficient and effective vaccination programme, managing the high numbers of citizens who are expected to be processed at the centres. We continue to highlight the incredible levels of congestions, queues and stampedes arising at vaccination centres in Gweru, Mutare, Harare, Norton and Bulawayo. Reports from our networks, further raise issues regarding, queues for the first doses of the vaccine and the poor management of the mass numbers of persons who are expected to take up the vaccines. It would appear the vaccine centres are inadequate, not fully prepared and their operations are not flexible to sustain the long-term engagement of large numbers of the population.
Fully cognisant of the ten-day vaccination blitz that is due to be undertaken targeting various aspects of the population, we reiterate and insist on improved management systems to ensure the vaccination blitz does not fail to meet targets and further is undertaken with due regards to the right to human dignity, safety and security of persons. Noting that the desired target of vaccinations administered is 50 000 per day, the entire design of the vaccination centres and their capacity to engage large numbers of persons must be urgently addressed.
- We urge the expansion of vaccination centres to manage increased patients points
- We recommend an increase in mobile vaccination points and a systemic mass publication of vaccination centres including their operating hours, the vaccines available and the numbers of persons per day manageable by centres.
- We call for the introduction of a booking systems for vaccines which will protect the frail, elderly and vulnerable.
- We urge the adoption of enhanced queue management systems at all vaccination centres including separate queues for men, women, the elderly and the vulnerable.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ)