Zimbabwe Lockdown: Day 516 – WCoZ Situation Report

516 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 26th of August 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 123 986 after 275 new cases, all local cases, were recorded. The highest case tally was recorded in Masvingo with 42 cases. We note that the Hospitalisation rate as of 1500hrs on 25 August 2021 was 398 hospitalised cases: 62 new admissions, 123 asymptomatic cases, 188 mild-to-moderate cases, 46 severe cases and 42 cases in Intensive Care Units. 

Active cases went down to 9 447. The total number of recoveries went up to 110 183, increasing by 685 recoveries. The recovery rate remains at 89%. A total of 31 273 people received their 1st dose of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 2 453 529. A total of 26 070 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 1 561 368. The death toll went up to 4 356 after 18 new deaths were recorded.

Critical Emerging Issues 

Availability of Blood and Blood Services 

We highlight the chronic and persistent need to ensure individuals and communities have access to safe and quality-assured blood and blood products in both normal and emergency situations. We remain concerned by consistent blood shortages in Zimbabwe which have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Further, we continue to highlight the high cost of blood in Zimbabwe which, together with the high cost of health services, makes healthcare increasingly unaffordable. 

We call on more people to become life-savers by volunteering to donate blood regularly. We celebrate and thank individuals who donate blood and we encourage more people to start donating;

  • We call for Government to promote and provide quality donor care; 

Today is a call to action for Government and national blood transfusion services to invest in national blood services, provide adequate resources, and put in place appropriate systems and infrastructure to increase the collection of blood from voluntary, non-remunerated blood donors. 

We further call Government to;

  • strengthen the provision for testing kits and blood bags for blood services in Zimbabwe negatively impacted by the COVID-19 Lockdown restrictions, 
  • sustain the investments in provision and universal access to blood services for all systems, 
  • specifically ensure that the cost of blood is affordable to the generality to the Zimbabwean public, 
  • promote and implement appropriate clinical use of blood, 
  • strengthen the systems for the oversight and surveillance on the whole chain of blood transfusion and distribution of blood and blood products.

Outstanding issues

Extension of Operating Hours of Lower Courts 

We note the announcement of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) ordering the resumption of normal court operations from today, however without the general public being present in the new Practice Direction 9 of 2021.

This means that Civil and Criminal Courts which have been on reduced operations due to COVID-19 control measures have been returned to normal. This is a welcome measure as courts had limited their activities to remand hearings, bail applications and urgent applications.

We welcome the new measures that resume the filing and processing of new cases, processes, documents, pleadings, papers and court orders, including service and execution by the sheriff and the messenger of court, which shall be done in terms of the applicable court rules, legislation or court order.

We note that the higher courts remain on their normal vacation until the start of the third term on September 6.

Court sittings for the Constitutional Court, Supreme Court, High Court, Labour Court and Administrative Court will also remain limited to urgent court applications and bail hearings until September 6, when the third term of the courts recommences.

We commend the resumption of the Civil and Criminal Courts. 

  • We urge the Judicial Service Commission to prioritise strengthening the case management system to ensure that the backlog of cases incurred during the COVID-19 lockdown is given special prioritisation. 
  • We call upon the JSC to inform the general public of the state of COVID-19 backlog as this is within the public interest. 
  • We call upon the prioritisation of family law matters to ameliorate the difficult context in which families and communities have been forced to endure as a result of the negative social impacts of the COVID-19 lockdowns. 
  • We call for the prioritisation of administrative and operational reforms at lower courts to support access to justice including enhancing the support of citizens to simple support such as photocopies, completion of forms, payment of fees and costs etc do not unduly burden citizens further from seeking relief legal processes after notable delays. 
  • We continue to call for programs to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the Judiciary to ensure practical increased access to justice for communities. 

Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe

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