528 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 7th of September 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 125 796 after 125 new cases, all local cases, were recorded. The highest case tally was recorded in Manicaland with 35 cases. We note that the Hospitalisation rate as at 15:00hrs on 6 September 2021 was 168 hospitalised cases: 21 new admissions, 16 asymptomatic cases, 137 mild-to-moderate cases, 10 severe cases and 5 cases in Intensive Care Units.
Active cases went down to 3 837. The total number of recoveries went up to 117 456 increasing by 420 recoveries. The recovery rate remains at 93%. A total of 20 726 people received their 1st doses of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 2 750 681. A total of 13 844 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 1 742 641. The death toll went up to 4 503 after 10 new deaths were recorded.
We note reports indicating a number of fully vaccinated persons recording positive tests for COVID-19, particularly in Matabeleland South where the COVID-19 provincial taskforce has shared their experiences of recording 307 positive COVID-19 cases involving fully vaccinated patients. As such, we amplify calls upon the public to stay safe and respect COVID-19 containment protocols despite being fully vaccinated.
Critical Emerging Issue
Gender lens National COVID-19 response and recovery
We continue to urge gender equality and women’s representation in COVID-19 response structures. We emphasize that the impacts of COVID-19 have been neither gender blind nor gender-neutral and that women have taken the hardest hit. Therefore, they should be allowed the space to be architects of their own solutions. We stress that women’s leadership, experiences and perspective are fundamental to the development of a gender-lens response and recovery. Participation and equal representation of women, as provided in Zimbabwe’s policy and legislative framework cannot be dispensed within the COVID-19 recovery path. Not only is this important for the achievement of gender equality and democracy, but gender machineries and women’s organizations also work closely with communities and therefore possess unapparelled knowledge and experience on the challenges, women are facing on a day-to-day basis. Therefore, they constitute the voice of authority when it comes to the design and implementation of gender lens recovery strategies. Thus, we recommend:
- As a starting point, more women including women’s rights organisations should form part of the steering committees for COVID-19 response Coordination, such as the COVID-19 National Taskforce.
- The Zimbabwe Gender Commission, to push for accountability to equal gender representation and balance in such key Committees, as envisaged by sections 17 and 56 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
- Urgent publication of analysed sex and age disaggregated data by Government on the composition of the COVID-19 taskforce teams throughout the country.
- We continue to call for the inclusion of Gender Advisory Experts at all levels of the National COVID-19 Response Structures.
Remaining vigilant under Level 2 of the lockdown
We note the announcement of lockdown measures which indicate a significant relaxation of socio-economic controls on Zimbabwe in response to the reduced new infection and reduced new admissions over the past two weeks. Among other newly announced measures, we note the following:
- Work-place decongestion limits have been revised upwards from 10% to 50%.
- Curfew to start from 22:00 to 05:30. Business will now be able to operate their commercial enterprises from 08:00 to 19:00.
- Extension of numbers of permitted persons to 100 persons.
- Intercity travel is now fully resumed without restriction but with strict adherence to COVID-19 containment measures.
- Low risk sports are to resume with time limits of being conducted between 08:00 to 16:00.
While commending the newly announced Level 2 measures:
- We caution against complacency and urge citizens to remain vigilant by strictly observing safety protocols and public health guidelines.
- We urge businesses to ensure safety of workers by observing safety protocols such as regular fumigation of work-spaces and temperature checks.
- We call upon Government and stakeholders to strengthen communication campaigns and awareness raising on COVID-19 and vaccination, so as to influence behavioural change amongst communities during this transition from Level 4 to Level 2 lockdown.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe