656 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 13th of January 2022, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 225 084 after 651 new cases all local cases, were recorded. The highest case tally was recorded in Manicaland with 108 cases. We note that the Hospitalisation rate data as at 15:00hrs on 11 January 2022, was: 183 hospitalised cases: 18 New Admissions, 2 Asymptomatic cases, 157 mild-to-moderate cases, 20 severe cases and 4 cases in Intensive Care Unit. A total of 9 373 people received their 1st doses of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 4 192 768. A total of 8 949 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 3 216 258. A total of 2 802 people received their 3rd dose of vaccine shots bringing the cumulative for 3rd doses to 21 565. Active cases went down to 16 554. The recovery rate remains at 90%. The total number of recoveries went up to 203 084 increasing by 1 659 recoveries. The death toll went up to 5 222 after 7 deaths were recorded.
Critical Emerging Issue
Extension of the level 2 lockdown
We note the announcement by Government for the extension of the Level 2 lockdown by a further 2 weeks. We further note deferment of schools opening by at least 3 weeks, subject to the COVID-19 situation in the country. We are concerned with the inequalities in education that are currently being exacerbated by Government’s policy and approach towards the containment of COVID-19 in schools. We note that while most schools are resorting to online schools, the majority of households in Zimbabwe face numerous constraints in accessing digital and online platforms, especially rural communities. Further, this is a critical matter of attention as the implications of the lockdown on girls as been proved to have undue and unequally devastating impacts on their rights and lives with limited to non-existent state support. We critique further the extension in regards to the re-opening of schools in light of the lack of enforcement of lockdown measures which are creating a real time limited sense of control in socio –economic sector yet the education sector appears to be subject to unbalanced inequality in treatment. This is exacerbated by the fact of continued drop in both infections and cases of COVID-19 over the last two weeks.
- We therefore urge Government to strike a balance between the need to ensure safety of learners on one hand and ensuring progressive enjoyment of the right to education by pupils during COVID-19.
- We urge publishing of an assessment report on the efficacy of the government-sponsored online schooling initiatives for 2021.
Reduced media coverage of COVID-19
We note, with growing concern, reduced media coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic in Zimbabwe, as the Nation continues to roll-out the booster vaccination programme. We are concerned at the high number of deaths which require that communities and the media at large remain vigilant of the pandemic. We further note the COVID-19 fatigue not only amongst communities, but also amongst stakeholders, duty bearers, the media and information community.
Cognisant of the key role played by the media in addressing matters of national concern;
- We call upon the media to remain vigilant to the pandemic in Zimbabwe.
- We call upon the editors and respective newsrooms to continue to prioritise the coverage and reporting of COVID-19 as we face difficulties in navigating the curve of infections.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe