The country recorded a total of 726 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases in May compared to 1,353 in April, 864 in March and 2,723 in February; while 29 deaths were reported in May compared to 44 in April, 60 in March and 241 in February 2021. The number of confirmed cumulative cases for the country has increased by about 4% over the last month from 38,433 cases induding 1,576 deaths by 11 May 2021 to 39,852 cases including 1,632 deaths by 14 June 2021.
Following a surge in recorded new COVID-19 cases at the start of June, with over 600 cases confirmed during the first week of the month—which is more than a four-fold increase from the same timeframe in May when only 132 new cases were recorded, the Government of Zimbabwe announced new mandatory restrictive measures to go into effect as on 14 June 2020 to prevent a potential 3" wave.
Annual inflation for May was estimated at 162% while food inflation for the month was pegged at 179%. The Consumer Price Index increased by 2.5%in May compared to 1.58%in April 2021.
The government introduced SI 127 of 2021 to control the abuse of the foreign currency exchange system in order to stabilise the exchange rate, promote use of the banking system as well as safeguard the banking system from being abused for illicit activities. However, the introduction of the SI 127 has resulted in price increases for foreign currency. The full impact of SI 127 on the market is yet to be understood.
The WFP HungerMap UVE remote monitoring frnVAM) system showed a continuing decrease in the estimated number of people experiencing insufficient food consumption from 5.1 million during the last week of April to 4.5 million by the last week of May 2021.
In ZWL terms, prices of most food basket commodities decreased; maize grain and maize meal prices decreased by 27% in rural and by 25%in urban markets, the price of sugar beans decreased by 4% in rural and by 2% in urban markets, while the price of vegetable oil increased by 4%in rural markets and remained the same in the urban markets.
In USD terms, price of maize grain decreased by an average of 19%, unrefined maize meal decreased by 4% while prices for sugar beans and vegetable oil remained stable compared to April.
Supply of maize grain remained critically low, reported to be available in 8% of the monitored markets while unrefined maize meal was available in 74% of monitored markets.
Availability of sugar beans increased from 60% in April to 75% in May, while that of vegetable oil remained the same at 90%.