524 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 3rd of September 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 125 331 after 213 new cases, all local cases, were recorded. The highest case tally was recorded in Manicaland with 73 cases. We note that the Hospitalisation rate as of 15:00hrs on 2 September 2021 was 127 hospitalised cases: 22 new admissions, 36 asymptomatic cases, 78 mild-to-moderate cases, 10 severe cases and 3 cases in Intensive Care Units.
Active cases went down to 6 235. The total number of recoveries went up to 114 639 increasing by 442 recoveries. The recovery rate remains at 91%. A total of 32 152 people received their 1st doses of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 2 681 957. A total of 16 329 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 1 689 638. The death toll went up to 4 457 after 8 new deaths were recorded.
We highlight the persistent challenges in the public transport system, particularly access to ZUPCO. We note serious public transport challenges following the ZUPCO monopoly and its failure to meet the demands of the commuting public, especially in Harare. We stress that the public transport system remains a key aspect of infection control of COVID-19 and thus the necessity to ensure easy access by citizens, and strict adherence to COVID-19 regulations.
Critical Emerging Issue
Rise of Vaccination Cards Black Market
We highlight with concern the blanket mandatory vaccination orders being enforced in the public and private sector and being driven by limited access to an increasing number of socio-economic activities and spaces. We are concerned by the mandatory vaccination orders which are not supported by an expanded and responsive vaccination program. We applaud the efforts of various societies in engaging with the public and undertaking significant public health awareness initiatives on the importance of vaccination. However, we note with concern that awareness alone will not deliver jabs in arms.
We are concerned regarding increased reports of individuals who are opting into the black market to secure vaccination cards as proof of vaccines without getting vaccinated. We note with concern that the increased pressure being created by the resumption of schools means that instances of trading in vaccination cards without vaccination are on the rise driven by sector mandates and schools mandates for both learners and teachers requiring fully vaccinated communities which is driving the demand for vaccination.
We highlight reports indicating that the costs of the vaccine cards are cheaper than the USD$30 to USD$60 PCR tests as they are reportedly being sold for between USD$15 to USD$20.
- We continue to call for an expansion for the vaccination program with support to resettlement communities, agricultural services centres, grain depots and collection points, we call for mobile centres in mining communities and in new housing settlements.
- We call a revision of information strategies in addressing those with concerns regarding getting vaccinated. We call for the provision of vaccines to those in schools and education centres without mandates barring their entry.
Drop in adherence to mandatory mask-wearing mandate
We continue to draw attention to the significant drop in communities’ adherence to masking up, despite the increase in monetary fines for the offence. Communities continue to demonstrate laxity in adherence to the mandatory mask-wearing public health guidelines right across the country as reported by our membership as a result of a snap survey. Concerned for infection control within the informal sector which represents 80% of Zimbabwe economic activities which occur in workspaces are characterised by high levels of congestion and density of persons.
- We continue to remind and stress to both the public and policy makers that vaccination is not a substitute for infection control.
- We continue to call for adherence to physical distancing, wearing of facemasks and regular temperature checks by businesses both formal and informal.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe