487 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 28th of July 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 103 567 after 1 856 new cases all local cases, were recorded. The highest case tally was recorded in Harare 473 cases. The hotspots updates are as follows; Mashonaland West Province – Hurungwe (31), Kariba (8) Chegutu (85), Mashonaland Central –Bindura (23), Shamva (33). Mashonaland East – Marondera (53), Murehwa (40). Masvingo Province – Bikita (35), Chiredzi (19). Bulawayo Province – Nkulumane (12), Emakhandeni (26) and Northern Suburbs (56), Harare Province (473).
We note that the Hospitalisation rate as at 1500hrs on the 27th of July 2021 was 804 hospitalised cases: 101 New Admissions, 210 Asymptomatic cases, 454 mild-to-moderate cases, 101 severe cases and 39 cases in Intensive Care Units.
Active cases go up to 28 844. The total number of recoveries went up to 71 383 increasing by 887 recoveries. The recovery rate remains at 69%. A total of 40 135 people received their 1st doses of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 1 562 285. A total of 18 466 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 713 131. The death toll went up to 3 340 after 60 new deaths were recorded.
Critical Emerging Issues
COVID-19 enforcement measures strengthened through heavy fines
We highlight the approval of the new schedule of fine for COVID-19 regulation violations by the Judicial Service Commission. We note the highest fines tables will be a maximum of (ZWL 5 000 approximately USD 58) for violating the COVID-19 preventive protocols. Failure to wear a mask will now attract ZWL 1 000 (approximately USD 11.70) as a level one offence, indicative of a 100% fine increase from the prior scale.
We note that level two offences are pegged at $2 000 approximately (USD 23.52) while offences at level three are pegged at ZWL 5 000. Offences subject to fines include the disregard of curfew hours, gatherings of more than two persons in public spaces and the operation of private taxis (mshika mshika).
We note with concern that the real time cost of the fines is actually greater as the Zimbabwe Republic Police does not take payments in electronic payment methods but only through cash payments which has an additional burden on those seeking to pay fines. We note that the fines are indeed very heavy and are meant to be a deterrent, however, we call for consistency in policing to ensure that some communities are not unduly and unfairly targeted by policing and enforcement actions.
- We call for the equal enforcement of the law. We call specifically that every offender be they policymakers, duty bearers and lead members of the public, be subjected to the same enforcement mechanisms as citizens as the law requires.
- We call for a full accounting of the funds raised through COVID-19 fines thus far.
- We call for a full accounting to the expenditure that the fines raised thus far have supported.
- We continue to call for active oversight mechanisms on law enforcement agencies during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ)