611 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 29th of November 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 133 226 after 235 new cases all local cases, were recorded. The highest case tally was recorded in Masvingo with 82 cases. We note that the Hospitalisation rate data as at 15:00hrs on 28 November 2021, 20 hospitalised cases: 4 New Admissions, 0 Asymptomatic cases, 13 mild-to-moderate cases, 5 severe cases and 2 cases in Intensive Care Units. A total of 11 152 people received their 1st doses of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 3 781 186. A total of 6 657 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 2 804 465. Active cases go up 817. The total number of recoveries went up to 128 703 increasing by 48 recoveries. The recovery rate remains at 96%. The death toll goes up 4 706 after 1 new deaths were recorded.
Critical Emerging Issue
Inequalities laid bare during COVID-19
Despite the relaxation of the lockdown measures, we bring to the fore the inequalities that have either been either laid bare or exacerbated by COVID-19 and the lockdowns. In particular, we highlight the gendered financial equality gaps due to socio-economic impacts of COVID-19, especially on that the majority of women in Zimbabwe and women-led households who continue to face the biggest impacts in food security, income loss, and care-giving burdens. We re-emphasize the need for prioritization of women’s access to social safety nets during COVID-19, taking due cognisance of the fact that a majority of women in the informal sector, such as the cross-border traders, have suffered severe loss of livelihoods due to the many lockdowns imposed since March 2020.
- We call for the prioritisation of adequate funding of National Social Protection Policy Framework in the 2022 National Budget.
- We reinforce our calls for the provision of support for households who are no longer able to sustain themselves due to loss of livelihoods, especially women-led households.
Lack of Social Distancing at VID centres
We spotlight and amplify concerns regarding various centres of the Vehicle Inspection Department (VID) under the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure. We are concerned at the high levels of congestion at the centres with persons of various ages seeking support and services offered at these centres across the country.
We note with grave concern that as a result of the COVID-19 lockdowns this is a department that has inevitably built up, pent-up demand and thus the numbers of persons seeking to access services has been significant and clearly overwhelming. However, we remain disturbed by the lack of social distancing amongst the high levels of congestion, poor proper mask wearing adherence and lack of retro-fitting of the facilities. The changing of people flow management in government departments and retrofitting were an essential element the government ensuring that services could be offered in a relative safety during the pandemic.
Whilst sanitisation is being offered at the centres, in real terms this is undermined by the congestion coupled with lack of social distancing at the centres.
- We call for the urgent consideration of implementation of and sustenance of infection control measures at the VID centres across the country.
- We call for VID centres to be expanded into vaccination centres urgently.
- We call for a shift in the booking systems of the services so as to better manage the high levels of demand for services and to offer these on a better scale for safety.
- We warn that the VID centres at present raise an imminent area of concern in the infections as we face a fourth wave of COVID-19 driven by the Omicron variant.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe