Zimbabwe Lockdown: Day 205 – WCoZ Situation Report

205 days of COVID-19 lockdown in Zimbabwe, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, as of 20 October 2020, the total number of COVID-19 cases increased to 8 187, after 28 new cases were reported. Active cases went down to 233 after 9 new recoveries were recorded. The total number of recoveries still stands at 7 692. The death toll stands at 233. 

We raise alarm in regards to delays in completing redesign, refurbishment and retrofitting of food markets, public transport, transit nodes and other public spaces across the country. We note with concern that these spaces continue to present real and present danger as potential “super spreader” sites. 

Emerging Critical Issues

Social protection measures 

We note that 205 days since the inception of lockdown, Government continues to miss targets for social protection relief from the stated target of 1 million households. We note, with concern, that only 66 509 households have benefited from the sum of ZWL$39 978 559 out of the COVID-19 allowance fund.

This literally means 933 491 Households have been left behind in the cold and yet Treasury continues to announce budget surpluses in the face of hunger and deprivation.

We continue to note the paltry support received by only 51 308 households, from the ZWL$30 813 019 disbursed for the Urban Cash Program. We note that this translates to an average beneficiary household amount of approximately ZWL$601 which is enough to purchase 1 loaf of bread for 7 days only. 

  • We call the government to order. 

We highlight that the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency reported that the Poverty Datum Line for one person in August stood at ZWL$1 442.00, while that of an average of five persons per household during the same month was ZWL$7 211.00. At the same time, the total Consumption of Poverty Line, for one person stood at ZWL$3 449.00, while five persons per household during the same period stood at ZWL$17 244.

  • We call upon government to refrain from undermining the constitution and the rights of citizens in respect of the right to dignity, the right to food, and the right to life
  • We call upon the government to refrain from an extractive and quantitative lens in addressing legitimate citizens’ demands. 

Outstanding Issues 

Community mass testing

While noting a decline in active cases, we recognize the need for an advanced testing strategy which ensures community mass testing and contact tracing. In the absence of mass community testing and public accounting for local transmission case-tracing, it is impossible to determine the appropriate reflection of the COVID-19 pandemic prevalence in Zimbabwe.

  • We call for increased testing and the ramping up of accessing to testing kits and consumables for Zimbabwe. 
  • We therefore recommend the Government to provide a clear plan of action to maintaining vigilance on COVID-19 on testing tracing and treatment for the current period to Mid-year 2021.
  • We further reinforce our call for an advanced testing strategy in the Public sector and urge Government to update the Nation on the progress of testing of all members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police, and all lockdown enforcement officers.

Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe