85 days into the lockdown, on the 21st of June 2020 the Ministry of the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that the number of Covid-19 positive cases had increased to 489 cases. Noting that 2 of the 3 new cases were returnees and 1 case was a local trace contact of a prior positive case. To date, Zimbabwe has recorded 6 Covid-19 deaths. We continue to send messages of comfort and prayer to the family and loved ones of the deceased persons.
We note the Media Briefing by the National Taskforce on Covid-19 which had met and sought to address the increase in cases of Covid-19 in Zimbabwe.
We note the progress and reporting made on measures to reduce the number of potential absconders of mandatory quarantine centres.
We further note the challenges of managing a growing and large population of returning residents, however we maintain the need to upgrade the mandatory quarantine and isolation centres.
Critical Emerging Issues
Adequate support and care for health workers
We note the continued deterioration of the health sector, amidst protests by health workers over poor working conditions and incapacitated hospitals.
Appreciating the dire consequences this will have on the systems’ responsiveness to Covid-19. Further noting that health workers face the greatest risk of exposure to Covid-19;
- We urge implementation of strategies to ensure adequate support for all health workers, including Personal Protective Equipment and sufficient Covid-19 allowances.
Testing in communities
Having witnessed a sharp increase in community transmission cases, lately; and further noting complacency and relaxation by citizens on adhering with the public health guidelines;
- We emphasize the need to enhance early case detection systems within the communities.
- We therefore call for an advanced test strategy which ensures community and public sector mass testing.
Security Services and Arrests
We continue to note growing trends from right across Zimbabwe indicating that the security services are failing to adhere to the public health safety protocols when effecting arrests. Reports indicate lack of physical distancing and use of hand sanitizers for offenders. Such actions expose both the security forces and the offenders to Covid-19, thereby resulting in a wider community spread and transmission;
- We therefore urge security agents to be alive to the real threat of Covid-19, and be more cautious when carrying out arrests, by desisting from actions that may endanger both their lives and those of offenders.
- In the same breadth, noting that security agents, are exposed to the public every day, we request a report on the status of testing of all security agents currently enforcing the lockdown.
Report on the tracing of Plumtree and Beitbridge Prisons Covid-19 cases
Noting that we are yet to receive a publicized report on the protection of prison population. Further noting that the Ministry of Health and Child Care is yet to update the nation on the tracing of Covid-19 cases recorded at Beitbridge and Plumtree Prisons;
- We await the long overdue update on the Covid-19 tracing status of the above-mentioned Prisons.
- We continue to urge Government to urgently publicize and implement a comprehensive crisis plan to cater for the rights, needs and safety of detainees in the Covid-19 era. Paying particular attention to vulnerable detainees such as juveniles, pregnant women, persons with disabilities and those with underlying health conditions.
Accountability and Transparency in Distribution and procurement to Covid-19 Supplies
We reinforce calls for openness in the procurement processes of Covid-19 supplies, including awarding of tenders and contracts.
Furthermore, we continue to call for the publication for the distribution matrix of Covid-19 supplies to ensure that the highest standards of good governance, accountability and transparency. We note that such publicization will assure communities, and the public at large the level of readiness that the health sector to be ready to handle potential incoming cases of positive Covid-19 cases.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe