Zimbabwe Lockdown: Day 486 – WCoZ Situation Report

486 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 27th of July 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 101 711 after 1 767 new cases, all local cases, were recorded. The highest case tally was recorded in Harare 438 cases. The hotspots updates are as follows; Mashonaland West Province – Hurungwe (35), Kariba (4) Makonde (59), Mashonaland Central – Bindura (25). Mashonaland East – Marondera (75), Murehwa (58). Masvingo Province – Chiredzi (31). Bulawayo Province – Nkulumane (24), Emakhandeni (41) and Northern Suburbs (55), Harare Province (438). 

We note that the Hospitalisation rate as at 15:00hrs on the 26th of July 2021 was 818 hospitalised cases: 120 New Admissions, 212 Asymptomatic cases, 484 mild-to-moderate cases, 80 severe cases and 42 cases in Intensive Care Units. Muzari and St Ruperts mission did not report today. 

Active cases went down to 27 935. The total number of recoveries went up to 70 496 increasing by 2 669 recoveries. The recovery rate goes up marginally to 69% from 67%. A total of 30 657 people received their 1st doses of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 1 522 150. A total of 7 469 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 694 685. The death toll went up to 3 280 after 107 new deaths were recorded. 

Critical Emerging Issues

Irregularities in the Vaccination Processes

We continue to raise alarm on the irregularities in vaccination processes. We highlight the instances wherein vaccination cards are being reportedly sold by some members of the health sector to unvaccinated persons. 

We continue to raise reports of those health officials conducting their own vaccination programs alongside vaccination centres due to congestion of main centres. We note with concern the rise in demand of cards which is being fuelled by chaos at vaccine centres. We note increasingly the demands for vaccination by increasing demands for proof of vaccination as a means to access various social and economic activities including jobs. As such we are concerned at the sale of vaccination cards as this will undermine critical public health targets. 

  • We call for the strengthening of internal control systems at vaccination centres.  
  • We call for active decongestion of vaccination centres as this is creating a market for irregularities and illegalities that undermine infection control efforts. 
  • We call for separate issuance points for vaccination cards to those vaccinated but failed to access cards at their vaccination dates. 
  • We call for a toll-free anonymous reporting systems for vaccine centres offering sale of vaccination cards.

Outstanding issues 

Strained Hospitalisation Capacities

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 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.  Whist 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. 

Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ)

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