Zimbabwe Lockdown: Day 183 – WCoZ Situation Report

183 days of COVID-19 lockdown in Zimbabwe, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, as at 28 September 2020, the total number of COVID-19 cases increased to 7 816 after 4 new cases were reported. Active cases went down to 1 476 following the record of 6 new recoveries. The total number of recoveries stands at 6 112. The death toll rises to 228 after one death was recorded. 

We note the 18th visit by visiting Chinese Doctors to support Zimbabwe’s fight against COVID-19. Whilst we welcome the support to strengthen cooperation pertaining to the fragile health care system in Zimbabwe, we urge our Government to remain vigilant in its leading role in providing protection and implementation. This is in agreement with the Swakopmund Protocol on the Protection of Traditional Knowledge and Expression of Folklore; the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources; and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from the utilisation of the convention on Biodiversity and the WTO Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights agreements in the cooperation. We call for the Parliament of Zimbabwe to remain vigilant of its oversight role in this regard.

Today marked the first day of school for thousands of students across the country. We note the re-opening of schools that began over the weekend with students at boarding schools travelling across the country to their respective centres of learning and the inordinate transport problems they faced due to the limited public transport available.

We call for the urgent resolution of the public transport sector, and we continue to reiterate that the lockdown is not the most appropriate time to sustainably restructure the national public transport system in Zimbabwe.

We note the ongoing industrial action with widespread reports of teachers who are not in classrooms at the expected and necessary levels. We urge the Government to engage in dialogue with the Teachers’ unions and bring progressive finality in this matter.

Critical Emerging Issues

Community transmission: workplaces and public spots

Our monitoring continues to reveal an increase in economic and social activities within communities and businesses, yet at the same time, demonstrating non-adherence to safety measures such as physical distancing, sanitization of workplaces and regular temperature checks. We worry that such conduct may lead the nation into another spike of COVID-19 cases. 

  • We continue to urge citizens to observe physical distancing as they meet and interact in public places such as banking halls.
  • We urge businesses to continuously fumigate premises and workplaces for the safety of workers and patrons.
  • We continue to call for the strict implementation of public health safety protocols in the public transport system.

Resumption of school lessons

We have observed general compliance with COVID-19 public health guidelines such as wearing masks and the use of sanitizers in schools. We however continue to emphasise the need to prioritise the safety of learners together with their teachers and supporting staff. We remain on standby to hear the measures to test all students and teachers prior to the resumption of schools. 

  • We recommend the 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