Zimbabwe Lockdown: Day 485 – WCoZ Situation Report

485 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 26th of July 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 99 944 after 2 050 new cases all local cases, were recorded. The highest case tally was recorded in Harare 497 cases. The hotspots updates are as follows; Mashonaland West Province – Hurungwe (10), Kariba (13) Zvimba (106), Mashonaland Central – Bindura (31), Centenary (27). Mashonaland East-Goromonzi (66) Murehwa (70). Masvingo Province – Masvingo (32). Midlands Province – Kwekwe (17). Bulawayo Province – Nkulumane (25), Emakhandeni (40) and Northern Suburbs (34), Harare Province (497). 

We note that the Hospitalisation rate as at 15:00hrs on the 25th of July 2021 was 910 hospitalised cases: 119 New Admissions, 290 Asymptomatic cases, 493 mild-to-moderate cases, 89 severe cases and 38 cases in Intensive Care Units. 

Active cases went up to 28 944. The total number of recoveries went up to 67 827 increasing by 1 914 recoveries. The recovery rate goes up marginally to 67% from 66%. A total of 18 452 people received their 1st doses of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 1 447 342. A total of 2 286 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 680 060. The death toll went up to 3 094 after 44 new deaths were recorded. 

We draw attention to the high number of asymptomatic cases. We remain concerned at the low adherence to COVID-19 regulations  amidst  increased socio-economic activities, as it points to high rate of infections. We are concerned at public transport and free-open movement in residential communities which poses danger in regards to high community transmission, especially against the background of low vaccination rates. We continue to urge citizens to increase their vigilance and make concrete efforts to support infection control and save lives.  

Critical Emerging Issue

Hospitalisations Rate 

We highlight the strain that the country’s hospitals are currently facing in responding to the increased rates of hospitalisations and demands on oxygen and ancillary supplies driven by the highly transmissible Delta variant of COVID-19. We call for the attention of the government to the implications of very sick citizens who are unable to secure access to hospital beds and access to oxygen support in health centres. Whilst we note the much-vaunted virtual hospital facilities which are designed to expand hospital bed- capacity, we remain concerned at the lack of operational and administrative progress to turn this program into tangible reality for communities. We accordingly: 

  • Call upon Government to consider establishing makeshift health centres for COVID-19 admissions.
  • Urge Government to increase uptake of nurse aids and volunteers to support hospital response services. 

Escapees of Quarantine Centres 

We highlight reports indicating that 81 people, including 29 COVID-19 persons escaped from the Beitbridge Quarantine, Isolation and Transit centre last week under unclear circumstances. We note that the group includes 71 Malawian citizens who had been arrested for border jumping while en-route to South Africa and 10 Zimbabwean deportees from South Africa. As such, we are concerned at the laxity that appears to be fuelling cases of absconding from isolation and quarantine centres. Reports indicate that approximately 1 391 people have escaped from the centre between March 2020 and July 2021.

We note with concern that cases of people absconding at the Beitbridge centre have been on the rise since February following the withdrawal of the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) soldiers who were providing security since its opening in March 2020.

  • We urge strengthened security at quarantine and isolation centres. 
  • We reiterate our calls for  improved conditions at quarantine and isolation centres, which include gender-sensitive interventions such as access to SRHR and sanitary wear for women and girls. 

Outstanding issues 

COVID-19 Vaccine Drive  

We commend the efforts to secure vaccine availability in Zimbabwe by the procurement and delivery of the 1 million doses of vaccine early this week, and the anticipated delivery of an additional 1.5 million doses by end of this week which bring the total of received vaccines to 5.5 million doses of the 12 million that Government has paid for fully from China.  We commend further the securing of another USD 7.5 million for the acquisition of the vaccines from the AU (African Union) facility, and efforts to support an additional 1.5 million doses from the COVAX facilities. We note Government position that it has thus far utilised USD 96 million in the procurement of vaccines and therefore spent the USD 100 million available to support vaccination to cover the 60% nation herd immunity target in our population of 14 million citizens. 

  • We urge Government to rapidly expedite the expansion of vaccination centres and vaccination drive support elements to ensure adequate systems to administer vaccines to citizens without creating COVID-19 super spreaders at vaccination centres. 
  • We call upon Government to fully account for the expenditure of funds to supporting the vaccination drive and the COVID-19 pandemic directly and specifically. 
  • We call upon Parliament of Zimbabwe to fully uptake this mandate and secure accountability for the pandemic management in Zimbabwe. 

Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ)

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