Zimbabwe Lockdown: Day 477 – WCoZ Situation Report

477 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 18th of July 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 83 619 after 1 006 new cases all local cases, were recorded. The highest case tally was recorded in Harare Mashonaland West at 339 cases. The hotspots updates are as follows; Mashonaland West Province – Hurungwe (53), Kariba (18) Zvimba (69), Mashonaland Central – Bindura (24), Mazowe (13). Mashonaland East-Marondera (43), Goromonzi (40). Masvingo Province – Bikita (11) Masvingo (35). Midlands Province – Kwekwe (14). Bulawayo Province – Nkulumane (26), Emakhandeni (28) and Northern Suburbs (57), Harare Province (93).

We note that the Hospitalisation rate as at 15:00hrs on the 17th of the July 2021 was 726 hospitalised cases: 138 New Admissions, 273 Asymptomatic cases, 376 mild-to-moderate cases, 49 severe cases and 28 cases in Intensive Care Units.  (Thorngrove, Mater Dei and Elangeni did not report) 

Active cases went down to 27 544. The total number of recoveries went up to 53 453 increasing by 1 530 recoveries. The recovery rate remains at 63%. A total of 12 043 people received their 1st doses of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 1 144 379. A total of 1 765 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 641 154. The death toll went up to 2 622 after 34 new deaths were recorded.

Critical Emerging Issues

Home-based Care

We continue to note that communities have a greater burden of care in responding to COVID-19 patients. In the context of the community-managed COVID-19 patients, we continue to emphasize that Zimbabwe’s health response is being led by households providing home based care. We therefore amplify 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 whole country is battling with increased infections;

  • 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, sexual and reproductive health services.

Outstanding issues

Lost in Translation: Vaccination Support for Small-scale farmers.

We note that the COVID-19 surge presently being experienced reflects an increase in cases in rural communities and amongst them small-scale farmers who care categorised as essential services. Further noting  that this category may has been traveling relatively unchecked, congregating and congesting trading floors, grain depots and collection points,  we highlighted the prudence to increase access to vaccination to these communities. As we commended the expansion of vaccination centres to include grain depots, trading floors and collecting points, we were concerned by the setting in place an operational ban on farmers seeking to access these critical spaces without proof of vaccination.

However, we note that Government operationally misunderstood the targeting and the need to provide additional vaccination points responsive to the largest groups of citizens. We were unsurprised therefore when the subsequent congestion at these critical points made operations unbearable and Government removed the said requirement.

As such we continue to call for depots, collection points and trading floors to be included as part of the expanded vaccination centres due to their day-to-day connectivity to small scale farmers. We reiterate that rural communities within the agricultural sector are critical to ensuing vaccine equity within Zimbabwe itself.

The misdirection on the policy of vaccination in this regard, therefore has not addressed the problem which once again risk infringing unduly on rights of workers as opposed to expand rights for those are have limited opportunities to enjoy them. The mandatory vaccination of GMB workers is a point in question.

  • We urge Government to resist mandatory vaccination and rather expand vaccination opportunities to those ready and willing to partake of the same. 
  • We call for the exercise of restraint within the public serve para-statals and to review their operations prior to imposing  mandatory vaccination of employees. We continue to urge  increase opportunities, knowledge and support for those seeking to access vaccination.

Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ)