657 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 14th of January 2022, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 225 637 after 553 new cases all local cases, were recorded. The highest case tally was recorded in Manicaland with 136 cases. We note that the Hospitalisation rate data as at 15:00hrs on 13 January 2022, was: 178 hospitalised cases: 11 New Admissions, 1 Asymptomatic case, 153 mild-to-moderate cases, 20 severe cases and 4 cases in Intensive Care Unit. A total of 6 447 people received their 1st doses of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 4 199 215. A total of 8 306 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 3 224 564. A total of 2 520 people received their 3rd dose of vaccine shots bringing the cumulative for 3rd doses to 25 085. Active cases went down to 15 406. The recovery rate rises to 91%. The total number of recoveries went up to 204 993 increasing by 1 685 recoveries. The death toll went up to 5 238 after 16 deaths were recorded.
Critical Emerging Issue
Detainees and Prisoners
We continue to highlight the despairing situation of arrested persons and detainees vis-à-vis COVID-19 containment measures and support. We continue to be distressed by reports indicating limited support for the issuance and reissuance of masks in such conditions in holding cells and prisons. We are further, concerned by the outstanding reports of the status of COVID-19 in the detainee and prison population during the fourth wave.
- We continue to call out Government to provide the nation with an update on the status of COVID-19 in law enforcement officers including in the correctional services.
- We urge the Prison Inspectorate to conduct a special series of COVID -19 assessment and visits to holding cells and prisons.
- We continue to await the adoption of robust measures to ensure that this vulnerable population is not subjected to undue hardship and exposure to COVID-19.
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.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe