Zimbabwe Lockdown: Day 488 – WCoZ Situation Report

488 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 29th of July 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 105 656 after 1 856 new cases, all local cases, were recorded. The highest case tally was recorded in Midlands 338 cases. The hotspots updates are as follows: Mashonaland West Province – Hurungwe (26), Kariba (12), Chegutu (67), Mashonaland Central – Bindura (34), Mazowe (37). Mashonaland East – Marondera (75), Murehwa (76). Masvingo Province – Bikita (26), Chiredzi (70), Mwenezi (75). Bulawayo Province – Nkulumane (29), Emakhandeni (68) and Northern Suburbs (32), Harare Province (235). 

We note that the Hospitalisation rate as of 15:00hrs on the 28th of July 2021 was 756 hospitalised cases: 124 new admissions, 219 asymptomatic cases, 388 mild-to-moderate cases, 101 severe cases and 48 cases in Intensive Care Units. 

Active cases went down to 28 841. The total number of recoveries went up to 73 394 increasing by 2 011 recoveries. The recovery rate remains at 69%. A total of 31 371 people received their 1st dose of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 1 593 656. A total of 17 247 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 730 378. The death toll went up to 3 421 after 81 new deaths were recorded. 

Critical Emerging Issues

Long COVID-19 in Zimbabwe

Noting, with commendation, the high rate of recoveries in Zimbabwe, we call our medical communities and the public to increase awareness of “Long COVID,” a phenomenon experienced by both severe and mild COVID-19 patients who continue to experience negative health experiences weeks and months after they have been marked as recovered. 

We highlight ongoing research findings, which indicate that Long-COVID-19 sufferers must receive support and so government should increase the training of healthcare workers on the phenomenon. 

We further highlight, for critical attention, medical sector reports that indicate that Long-COVID-19 has been found in persons who had not been tested or recorded as positive for COVID-19 initially and also in persons who had not been hospitalised at all.

  • We reiterate our calls for the Ministry of Health and Child Care, through the COVID-19 Treatment and management Committee, to update the nation on the tracing and treatment of patients with Long COVID-19 in Zimbabwe. 
  • We continue to call for the support to the development of rehabilitation programs for those experiencing Long COVID.
  • We support calls for direct support to the development of community-based responses or programs for Long COVID especially as COVID-19 has become a largely home-based care illness in the country with devastating consequences for communities. 
  • We support calls for the expansion of access to health services for Long COVID to marginalized or impoverished populations.
  • We amplify calls for clear announcements on contemporary research in management and treatment practices for Long COVID in the discipline of General Medicine, Psychiatry, Psychology and Physiotherapy.

Outstanding issues 

COVID-19 enforcement measures strengthened through heavy fines 

We highlight the approval of the new schedule of fines for COVID-19 regulation violations by the Judicial Service Commission. We note the highest fines tabled 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 ZWL$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 insist specifically that every offender, be they policymakers, duty bearers or 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.

Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe

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