Close All Schools Now: Tutuma Statement on COVID-19

Source: 19 March 2020Education, Health

Tutuma Zimbabwe welcomes the declaration of national disaster made by President Mnangagwa on the 17th of March 2020 in light of the COVID-19. We urge citizens of all ages and travelers to be alert and practice preventative measures as shared by the government, health professionals and development partners. We commend the work done so far in screening, testing and mitigating possible infection in the country. To date, Zimbabwe has not officially confirmed any cases of COVID-19 within its borders.

We also recognize the steps that Parliament of Zimbabwe has taken in response to the national disaster declaration through the suspension of all Parliamentary business. Tutuma recommends that all public and private institutions follow suit. Preparedness for eventuality of confirmed cases and prevention of COVID-19 is a national responsibility requiring all citizens, private sector and development partners to contribute to national safety. In this regard, we salute efforts already being taken by the City of Harare, Econet Wireless, World Health Organisation (WHO) among other entities towards enhancing preparedness, safety and prevention.

Tutuma further recommends that the President and government shows exemplary leadership in the fight against COVID-19. Any large gatherings must be stopped forthwith regardless of whether its government, ruling party or weddings and this should be applied without favor.

Tutuma Zimbabwe expresses worry over the decision to leave schools open while there is a blanket ban on all gatherings including religious related. We recommend that the President, his government and stakeholders urgently convene to reconsider this position. We have observed a number of developed countries that have strong health systems but have either closed or partially closed. Children are a vulnerable group particularly with regards to COVID-19 and therefore special care must be taken to protect them.

Source: Tutuma