Zimbabwe Lockdown: Day 80 WCoZ Situation Report

80 days into the lockdown, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that as at the 17th of June 2020, the number of Covid-19 positive cases had increased by ten cases, bringing the total cumulative cases to 401 cases. The number of recovered patients currently stands at 63.

We reiterate the inconsistency in providing demographic disaggregation of persons testing positive for Covid-19 and once again call upon the Ministry of Health and Child Care to maintain reporting consistency.

Whilst we acknowledge the fact that the testing prioritisation has been directed to mandatory quarantine and isolation centres we remain concerned at limited testing to communities broadly.

We remain concerned that the consolidated test conducted by the private sector who have resumed operations are not being reported in the Ministry of Health and Child Care figures.

We remain concerned that the Statutory Instruments on the resumption of operations requires testing of employees upon opening and once every 14 days, yet the Minister of Health and Child Care verbally announced that testing can be conducted upon opening and once every 30 days.

  • We call upon Government to revise all the applicable Statutory Instruments regarding Covid-19, in order to update the regulations accordingly,
  • We encourage the Government to desist from the emerging state practice to govern by announcements and not by law.
  • We urge the Parliament of Zimbabwe to exercise its full mandate on the raft of Covid-19 measures to ensure coherence, compliance and consistently by the executive in this regard

We highlight, with concern, the continued increase of positive Covid-19 cases and raise alarm at the inconsistencies in the relaxation of the Covid-19 Lockdown measures, which do not seem to address the attempt to stop the spread of the disease.

  • We note with concern that ZUPCO buses can carry the maximum capacity of the 70 persons which do not have physical distancing, whilst religious groups and Parliament of Zimbabwe meetings have a maximum of 50 persons in a grouping.

We highlight the global profiling of the drug dexamethasone, a low dose anti-inflammatory steroid, which is part of one of the largest clinical trials for treatments and vaccines for Covid-19, is a promising treatment therapy for very ill patients on ventilators and on oxygen.

  • We highlight the call that African governments, repurpose the drug to address the symptoms of persons who are ill with Covid-19
  • Further we amplify the call for the classification of the drug as an essential drug to facilitate its prioritisation in the national drug supply lines.

Critical Emerging Issue

Gender Based Violence

We continue to highlight the scourge of the violence against women which has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 lockdown measures which have increased women exposure to the home, which, unfortunately, are not places of safety for many women. We highlight once more, that high level national actions are necessary to address the culture of violence in both domestic and public spaces in Zimbabwe:

  • We call upon the Government to strengthen the state response systems to prevent violence against women and in particular to promote mechanisms to  provide adequate, efficient and effective support to survivors of violence.

We note with interest on state priorities, that the proposal to increase the mandatory sentence of the theft and vandalism of the Zimbabwe electricity infrastructure to 30 years is high on the public policing structure and yet the mandatory sentencing for violence against women and domestic violence in particular remains pending and steps to address this slow paced progress on violence in not moving as rapidly as the statement pronouncement would intimate.

NoName of InstitutionsNo of Cases Received
1ZRP Victim Friendly Unit(VFU)340
2Musasa953
3Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association210
4Padare67
5Family Support Trust91
6Adult Rape Clinic56
7GBV One Stop Centres241
Figures are as reported to the Parliament of Zimbabwe 17 June 2020

Shortages of test-kits in quarantine centres

Concerned with recurring incidents of shortages in testing at mandatory quarantine centres. Noting that such shortages have resulted in some returnees being held in quarantine for longer periods than scheduled. Furthermore, understanding from various reports that the living conditions at quarantine facilities, are deplorable;

  • We urge Government to ensure prioritisation of the needs and freedoms of persons held in quarantine, so as to avoid over-detention of citizens within quarantine facilities.
  • We further demand an update from the Ministry of Health and Child Care, in respect of test-kit availability in the country, and the capacity of the Ministry to expedite testing and completion of backlog cases

Public Hearings and Covid-19 safety protocols

Noting that Parliament’s public hearings on Constitution Amendment number 2 are currently underway;

Commending the compliance with safety protocols such as sanitisation, temperature checks and regular disinfection of venues, as witnessed at the Nembudziya and Sanyati Hearings;

However, dismayed with reports from our networks and monitors, highlighting lack of social distancing within the venues, as witnessed in Marondera, Chivi and Mutare where sessions were conducted with over 50 persons gathering in one place:

  • We emphasize that such actions expose participants to the high risk of Covid-19 infection.
  • We urge Parliament to comply with the Covid-19 regulations, especially on the limited number of persons in a gathering, which is 50.

Critical Emerging Issue

Restrictions in movement by the security agents

Reports from our networks in Kwekwe today, reveal the continued operation by security forces to indiscriminately restrict movements of citizens. The reports show that even the majority of citizens with exemption letters were denied the right of movement.

We continue to note that this is indeed a growing trend on the distortion of the definition of essential service through the methods of enforcement wherein persons who are stated in the regulations as essential service continue to be harassed by enforcement officers;

  • We reiterate our calls for an official position on movement, travel permits and essential services, as we have noted growing inconsistences throughout the past few weeks.
  • We reinforce our calls upon the enforcing agents to exercise restraint and avoid unleashing terror and violence upon communities, under the guise of enforcing lockdown.

Outstanding Issues

Price Hikes

Remaining concerned with reports indicating price hikes for basic commodities, throughout the country. Noting that the economic situation has deteriorated further due to Covid-19, the lockdown and loss of income. This means that such households are plainly and wholly relying upon the Government for their very survival. We appreciate that access to food is a fundamental human right, which the State must fulfil for its citizenry;

  • We therefore urge the State to expedite social protection and food aid programs and to implement comprehensive feasible strategies to alleviate economic shocks presented by Covid-19.

Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe