Zimbabwe Lockdown: Day 490 – WCoZ Situation Report

490 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 31st of July 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 108 860 after 1 370 new cases, all local cases, were recorded. The highest case tally was recorded in Midlands with 528 cases. The hotspots updates are as follows: Mashonaland West Province – Hurungwe (22), Kariba (2), Chegutu (32), Mashonaland Central – Mt Darwin (11), Mazowe (9). Mashonaland East- Mutoko (26), Murehwa (30). Masvingo Province – Bikita (8), Chiredzi (1), Masvingo (27). Bulawayo Province – Nkulumane (9), Emakhandeni (23) and Northern Suburbs (32), Harare Province (166).

We note that the Hospitalisation rate as of 15:00hrs on the 30th of July 2021 was 784 hospitalised cases: 97 new admissions, 204 asymptomatic cases, 434 mild-to-moderate cases, 110 severe cases and 36 cases in Intensive Care Units.

Active cases went up to 29 472. The total number of recoveries went up to 75 856 increasing by 1 294 recoveries. The recovery rate remains at 69%. A total of 21 725 people received their 1st dose of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 1 645 599. A total of 16 423 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 767 910. The death toll went up to 3 532 after 42 new deaths were recorded.

Critical Emerging Issues

Increased Access to Vaccination Programme for Rural Communities 

We amplify calls for the direct and deliberate expansion of the vaccine programme to rural communities. We note that whilst efforts to ensure rural health care centres have indeed been supported with access to vaccines, the progress has been simply too slow and low to make a significant impact in a pandemic whose hotspots have largely been rural in nature. We note that this has been exacerbated due to socio-economic centres for rural communities targeting small scale agrarian producers largely being weak, as raised in detail in prior reports. 

We accordingly call government to directly seek to plug gaps in the rural vaccination programme. We raise issue with the long distances to health care centres that communities report are a major hindrance to accessing the vaccination programme. We draw attention to the shortages of vaccines reported by communities in rural health care centres. The current national vaccination programme is well known in rural communities but those communities are being left behind. 

  • We call for vaccine equity within Zimbabwe. 
  • We call for prioritisation of rural and peri-urban communities. 
  • We call for the rolling out of mobile vaccine centres to provide direct support to communities. 

Outstanding issues 

Lack of PPE at Vaccine Centres 

We continue to be alarmed by the lack of adequate PPE worn by frontline workers at vaccine centres who are administering the vaccines to very high numbers of people whose COVID-19 status is unknown to them at the time they present themselves to the frontline workers. 

We draw attention to the inconsistency in masks worn by frontline workers. We are concerned at frontline workers who at times, have been observed without masks. 

We are concerned at the thin plastic aprons with no other comprehensive PPE worn by frontline workers as they attend to large numbers of people during the third wave with a highly transmissible virus. In some distressing instances, our networks report inconsistencies in the wearing of gloves by frontline workers. 

We are concerned for the frontline health workers themselves who are clearly at very high risk. 

  • We therefore reiterate the prioritisation of the safety of frontline workers, in particular staff at vaccine centres who have a direct impact on infection control.
  • We urge provision of adequate PPE to frontline workers serving to all vaccine centres.

Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe

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