158 days of Covid-19 lockdown in Zimbabwe, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, as at 2 September 2020, the total number of Covid-19 cases increased to 6 678 confirmed cases after 40 new cases tested positive, 5 are local transmission cases while 35 are imported cases. With 1095 PCR tested conducted on 3 September, the positivity rate stands at 3.7%. Active cases were reported to have gone up to 1 209. A cumulative total of 5 263 recoveries have been recorded to date. The death toll still stands at 206 deaths as no death has been reported in the last 24 hours.
We highlight the reports indicating the difficult conditions in which Zimbabweans in South Africa who are being held at the Lindela Repatriation Centre encounter. In particular, we draw attention to the pause in deportations, due to a delay in verification procedures, by the Zimbabwean Government, to reduce the flow of the number of returnees to Zimbabwe and alleviate strain in mandatory quarantine centres.
We note the difficulties faced by the Government in this regards. However, we note with concern, that for the over 400 Zimbabwean which are reported to be held at the centre the conditions of being detained are distressing and filled with hardship. We call for a reconsideration of the current policy position and engagement on progressive process of returnees to ease the suffering of citizens.
Critical Emerging Issues
Relaxation on adherence to public health guidelines
Our networks monitoring the Covid-19 situation in their communities have reported a continued general trend, throughout communities, businesses and public spaces, indicating a relaxation in observing social distancing, use of face masks and sanitizers. Concerned that failure to adequately observe social and physical distancing may erode all the gains recorded so far in the Covid-19 battle.
- We remind the general populace on the need to fortify their efforts in maintaining both social and physical distancing, in every environment which may include work, public transport or supermarkets.
Access to sexual reproductive rights and sanitary wear
As marginalised sections of the population, in particular women and girls continue to face the brunt of the lockdown, challenges continue to mount on access to sexual reproductive health products, such as sanitary wear. This challenge has been attributed to budgetary and financial constraints presented by the lockdown measures, which have resulted in most households losing their income generating capacity. Noting that this status quo, will continue to remain indefinitely, due to the fact that the lockdown period was declared indefinite.
- We therefore recommend that Government rightly directs its attention to the challenges that women and girls are currently facing, and address those appropriately.
- We call upon Government to develop and implement programs that will ensure that women and girls access free sanitary wear during the lockdown.
Re-opening of schools for examination writing classes
We note the announcement by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, that pupils sitting final exams are returning to school from 14 September 2020, with those sitting for ZIMSEC commencing lessons on 28 September.
While we are aware, as reported that during the June-July exams, no Covid-19 transmissions were recorded amongst pupils, we reiterate the need to ensure safety of students, teachers and other ancillary staff.
- We therefore emphasize putting in place measures to minimize risk of exposure to Covid-19. This must include employing the same strategy as one recently adopted by Parliament and ensuring mandatory testing of all teaching personnel.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ)