658 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 15th of January 2022, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 225 934 after 297 new cases all local cases, were recorded. The highest case tally was recorded in Mashonaland East with 67 cases. We note that the Hospitalisation rate data as at 15:00hrs on 14 January 2022, was: 190 hospitalised cases: 12 New Admissions, 15 Asymptomatic cases, 153 mild-to-moderate cases, 17 severe cases and 5 cases in Intensive Care Unit. A total of 4 643 people received their 1st doses of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 4 203 858. A total of 4 128 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 3 228 693. A total of 1 713 people received their 3rd dose of vaccine shots bringing the cumulative for 3rd doses to 25 798. Active cases went down to 14 603. The recovery rate remains to 91%. The total number of recoveries went up to 206 088 increasing by 1 095 recoveries. The death toll went up to 5 243 after 5 deaths were recorded.
Critical Emerging Issue
Importance of Tracking, Monitoring and Reporting COVID-19 Variants
We continue to call for persistency and consistency in tracking, monitoring and sharing with the public the results of the genomic sequencing to trace COVID-19 variants of interest and variants of concern nationally. We continue to amplify reports from the local scientific community calling for the need to support research in genomic surveillance of COVID-19 positive cases among fully vaccinated individuals to determine the effectiveness against variants of interests and variants of concern. This monitoring is necessary to ensure tracking of vaccine efficacy in the face of the variants which can indeed nullify the gains of vaccines presently developed.
We further amplify grave concerns on emerging evidence that individuals with weakened immune systems due to HIV/AIDS may be prone to prolonged infection and increased likelihood of SARS-CoV-2 mutations. This is a critical element of ensuring public health support to Zimbabwe a country with the HIV prevalence rate of 12.9%. We highlight that despite the fact that Zimbabwe has met the UNAIDS target of having at least 73% of people with HIV access support to ensure viral load suppression, our largest trading partner and neighbour South Africa, has one of the world’s highest number of people living with HIV without viral load suppression.
Despite cases indicating a low number of international COVID-19 transmissions, we remain alive to the potential infection control implications of increased relaxation of COVID-19 regulations, increased socio- economic activities and increased traffic at our borders. The vigilance in regards to the potential variants of interest and variants of concern are a critical element in protecting the gains made thus far in the COVID-19 response.
- We call for the increased support into local research into genomic surveillance of COVID-19 positive cases among fully vaccinated individuals directly
- We call for publication of the results of COVID-19 variant tracking widely ? We call for increased support to genomic surveillance among persons living with HIV.
Detainees and Prisoners
We continue to highlight the despairing situation of arrested persons and detainees. The continued state of holding cells and prisons. We continue to be both are alarmed and distressed at reports indicating limited support for the issuance and reissuance of masks in such conditions. We are further, concerned by the outstanding reports of the status of COVID-19 in the detainee and prison population in 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 call for 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 measure to ensure that this vulnerable population is not subjected to undue hardship.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe