181 days of COVID-19 lockdown in Zimbabwe, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, as at 25 September 2020, the total number of COVID-19 cases increased to 7 787 and active cases went up to 1 503, following the record of 35 new cases and 14 recoveries. The total number of recoveries stands at 6 057. The death toll stands at 227.
Whilst we commend the decision by the Ministry of Transport to ensure that all driving schools should only open when their teacher drivers have been tested for COVID-19, we continue to call for open access to public testing. In the absence of such mass testing, livelihoods and services remain constricted by the inability of ordinary cash-strapped citizens to access tests. The responsibility of ensuring high levels of COVID-19 responsive measures, in particular, testing, rests with the state.
We highlight the efforts made by the Cross–Border Traders Association to facilitate enhanced access to test for its members by providing cheaper tests, we continue to call for the government to make necessary inquiries in various parts of the work to widen the reach of state-sponsored testing.
Critical Emerging Issues
Non-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.
- We urge communities and citizens to follow the proper use of masks, and to ensure strict compliance with the public health guidelines, in their day to day lives, and not only when traveling to their respective Central Business Districts.
Delays in implementing social protection measures
Reports from our community networks continue to raise a red flag over hunger and lack of social protection mechanisms. We have been consistently raising the direct correlation between the on-going lockdown and hunger in communities. The lockdown has resulted in most households’ exposure to food insecurities, due to loss of income.
- We continue to query policy measures put in place by Government to ensure that citizens access basic commodities in the time of COVID-19.
- We further call the State to order, particularly on its duty to ensure that citizens enjoy the progressive realisation of their fundamental right to food and water.
- We recommend an increase in the COVID-19 relief pay-outs, and expedited implementation of social protection programs for all vulnerable households.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ)