Zimbabwe Lockdown: Day 182 – WCoZ Situation Report

182 days of COVID-19 lockdown in Zimbabwe, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, as at 27 September 2020, the total number of COVID-19 cases increased to 7 812 after 9 new cases were reported. Active cases went down to 1 479 following the record of 39 recoveries. The total number of recoveries stands at 6 106. The death toll stands at 227. 

This weekend we noted an increase in movement and activities throughout the country as citizens adjusted to the recent relaxation of COVID-19 regulations. We further noted a decrease in the level of precaution being taken to ensure prevention of COVID-19 community transmission. 

We continue to emphasize that everyone should fortify 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 guidelines on 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 travelling to their respective Central Business Districts.

Critical Emerging Issues

Stigma and discrimination

Reports from our networks continue to highlight an increase in social stigma and discriminatory behaviours against people diagnosed with COVID-19 and those perceived to have been in contact with the virus, including healthcare personnel. We note that such stigma may undermine social cohesion and drive people to hide the illness in order to avoid discrimination. This may result in the disease spreading as people fail to seek immediate medical attention.

  • We therefore recommend that stakeholders, community leaders and Government, intensify efforts in meaningfully engaging at the community level, with citizens, including people who have recovered from COVID-19, with their consent, to lead in increasing awareness and reducing stigma and discrimination.

Resumption of school lessons

As we note various grievances and dissenting voices within the educator sector, particularly regarding the resumption of operations, we continue to highlight the need to engage in progressive dialogue. In addition, noting this:

  • We continue to emphasise the need to prioritise the safety of learners, together with their teachers and supporting staff, within the education sector at all levels. 
  • We recommend development of specific comprehensive strategies for ensuring that pupils with disabilities attend school without increased exposure to the disease.
  • We urge that preventative measures for vulnerable pupils in preparedness for the resumption of schools, be clear, transparent and tangible.

Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe