Zimbabwe Lockdown: Day 569 – WCOZ Situation Report

569 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 18th of October 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 132 405 after 37 new cases all local cases, were recorded. The highest case tally was recorded in Manicaland with 10 cases. We note that the Hospitalisation rate as at 15:00hrs on 17 October 2021 was 122 hospitalised cases: 6 New Admissions, 18 Asymptomatic cases, 83 mild-to-moderate cases, 16 severe cases and 5 cases in Intensive Care Units.

Active cases went down to 1 259. The total number of recoveries went up to 126 487 increasing by 179 recoveries. The recovery rate remains at 95%. A total of 6 631 people received their 1st doses of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 3 228 506. A total of 7 140 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 2 486 318. The death toll goes up to 4 659 after 1 new death was recorded.

Critical Emerging Issue

Drop in Adherence to mandatory mask wearing

We continue to draw attention to the significant drop in communities’ adherence to masking up. We note that communities continue to demonstrate laxity in adherence to the mandatory mask wearing public health guidelines right across the country, especially in supermarkets, informal markets and agricultural centres, as reported by our membership as a result of a snap survey. We raise concern with infection control issues within the informal sector which represents 80% of Zimbabwe economic activities, which are largely characterised by high levels of congestion and density of persons.

  • We caution against complacency and urge citizens to remain vigilant by strictly observing safety protocols and public health guidelines.
  • We continue to call for adherence to physical distancing, wearing of facemasks and regular temperature checks by businesses both formal and informal.
  • We urge businesses to ensure safety of workers by observing safety protocols such as work station sanitisation, temperature checks and regular fumigation of work-spaces.

Outstanding Issues

Recognition of the Role of Workers in Responding to the COVID-19 Crisis of Care

We continue to highlight the role of essential service workers and workers at large in their day-to-day work and in the manner of their response to the multi-layered crises spotlighted by the COVID-19. In particular, we highlight the deficiencies and the negative economic costs of state systems that do not have the capacity to address the multi-layered trauma, nation-wide that is created, facilitated, and exposed by both natural and man-made crises including the COVID-19 pandemic. This has placed the role of care work at the front and centre of the mechanisms of government systems.

Whilst the pandemic itself was indeed not fully anticipated, the question of the inability of state systems to respond to the socio-economic stresses raised by crises remains on the table of government. This responsibility has been made graver by the undermining of the role of workers, in particular women workers within critical services arms of the state. Essential service workers, delivering critical services in health, education, social welfare and water and sanitation have been persistently de-prioritised and undermined as they acquit the critical care work which continues to be unrecognised, unrewarded and unsupported.

  • This may day we continue to call upon Government to fully address the conditions of service of all workers and critically to invest in addressing the crises of poor health, education and social welfare system that unnecessarily undermine all socio-economic and political efforts directed and securing the rights of citizens sustainably.
  • We call for the increased support, recruitment and intensified deployment into communities’ state funded social welfare officers with resources to undertake a wide array of critical social services at community level especially in the 2021-2023 National Budget.
  • We call for the increased provision of and support to teachers in early childcare facilities who are understaffed, under-resourced and underpaid yet are playing a critical foundational role in child development which is the basis of all human development, we call for express provision for these measures in the 2022-2023 National Budget.

Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe

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