514 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 24th of August 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 123 320 after 319 new cases all local cases, were recorded. The highest case tally was recorded in Harare with 61 cases. We note the general nature of the hotspot update which did not give hotspot specific data, but, reported on the general downward trend of new infections due to containment measures.
We note that the hospitalisation rate as of 15:00hrs on 23 August 2021 was 402 hospitalised cases: 29 new admissions, 93 asymptomatic cases, 221 mild-to-moderate cases, 53 severe cases and 35 cases in Intensive Care Units. (Providence, Avenues Clinic, Sally Mugabe, Gokwe North & South, Gweru Infectious Hospital and Masvingo Province, did not report). Active cases went down to 10 340. The total number of recoveries went up to 108 660 increasing by 901 recoveries. The recovery rate remains at 88%. A total of 37 016 people received their 1st dose of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 2 382 359. A total of 23 397 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 1 506 445. The death toll went up to 4 320 after 27 new deaths were recorded.
Critical Emerging Issues
Extension of Lockdown
We note the extension of the lockdown for an additional two weeks. We note the announcement that the education sector is set to resume in-person classes in the following manner: Schools will re-open on 30 August 2021 for examination classes and 6 September 2021 for non-examination classes.
We note restaurants are set to re-open for sit-in patrons who are fully vaccinated upon production of vaccination cards and strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols.
We note relaxation of inter-city travel and intercity transportation primarily to facilitate for learners who are anticipated to require inter-city travel and accordingly will be allowed during the re-opening of schools’ periods, subject to monitoring by law enforcement agencies.
We note the extension of vaccination to teenagers between the ages of 14 and 17.
- We urge strengthening of vaccination monitoring and reporting system to protect minors.
- We continue to urge caution against creating two track community as restrictions on access to public spaces for persons who are not vaccinated continue to increase. We caution government against such a practice when vaccination centres remain extremely limited. Negative COVID-19 tests therefore should remain an option in infection control in public spaces.
- We continue to query enforcement guidelines and pattern especially in light of complicated measures such as a partial relaxation of inter-city travel which may lead to arbitrary enforcement patterns.
Opening of schools
We note the imminent phased resumption of the education sector.
- We continue to emphasise on the need to prioritise the safety of learners together with their teachers and supporting staff within the education sector.
- We urge that support measures schools be expedited with notable priority support to schools in rural communities with significant water and sanitation limitations.
- We continue to call for the enhancing of COVID-19 preventative measures for vulnerable pupils in preparedness for the resumption of schools, to be substantive and tangible.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe