Today marks the 22nd Day of the COVID-19 Lockdown in Zimbabwe. It has been widely reported that generally citizens are struggling coming to terms with the extension of the lockdown. Our networks indicate that in most areas today, communities were conducting business as if the lockdown had been lifted, particularly in areas such as Gwanda, Bikita Nyahunda and Makura areas, Marondera Rural ward 12 and 13, and also Chirumanzi area.
We acknowledge the easing of lockdown measures to facilitate some economic activities and that the policy position is an attempt to balance out the lockdown and socio-economic interest on the other. However without the requisite support form a clear and strong administrative and operational guideline we will continue to have anomalies that completely undermine the entire purpose of the lockdown.
We make reference to the 3hr traffic jam caused by a notably large number of citizens seeking to the capital today which ultimately sent a message that there is a queue to enter the capital city but eventually normal business can be conducted.
We commend the efforts to support the supervised deliveries of subsidised mealie meal and continue for an expansion and strengthening of the mealie meal delivery program whose effectiveness significantly contributes to the ability of citizens to effectively cooperate with the state in staying safe.
Whilst we note the inclusion of journalists and those in broadcasting services as essential services. We call for equity in the sector to facilitate for equitable access and support of journalists in the private sector. We further call for the respect of the rights of journalists and we remain expectant that this move will eradicate the police brutality against journalists which we have witnessed in the past weeks.
We call upon the Government to ensure that mandatory quarantine centres are adequately supported by access to safe portable bulk water and sanitation services. In particular those that will not exacerbate their possible increased risk to exposure to COVID19.
We reiterate that the monitoring systems of returning residents (13 OOO) which the Government indicated it capacity to track and monitor be reported against.
The lockdown, especially, the response of the government to the COVID19 threat require full accounting and full accountability for the many areas and issues. We acknowledge the efforts being made by Members of Parliament during the lockdown in response to the contexts in their various communities.
- We also call for the exemplary behaviour of all leaders to ensure that this time that does not promote partisanship
but rather strengthens the exercise of the mandate of the Parliament of Zimbabwe through our Parliamentarians.
- We further call upon the Parliamentarians to remain vigilant to their respective oversight responsibilities during this time as all actions taken by the state during this period must be fully accounted for.
- We call for Parliament to exercise its full powers to escalate the call the establishment of the Constitutional section 210 Independent Complaints Mechanism
Critical Emerging Issues
1. Observing the lockdown measures
Concerned with the reports from our networks indicating lockdown fatigue and non-observance of social distancing, particularly in Southlea Park, where it has reported that crowds of people were defying social distancing until the enforcement authorities had to make use of teargas to disperse crowds;
Deeply concerned with the level of traffic from high density areas, approaching Harare Central Business District;
- We continue to urge citizens to continue observing social distancing and public health guidelines in efforts to contain the further spread of the disease.
2. Testing, Tracing and Treatment
Noting that as of 19 APRIL 2020, the Ministry of Health and Child Care, had conducted cumulative tests summing up to 2,851;
Whilst we recognise a reasonable increase in tests conducted in the past few days, as compared to the early days of lockdown;
We commend the deployment of 167 PCR testing machines at every level from village to national level;
We continue to call the attention of Government to the readiness and sufficiency of other testing centres and isolation facilities around the country.
- We reiterate that delayed testing, results in delayed access to treatment therefore threatening containment success rate;
- We therefore recommend adequate capacitation of testing centres throughout Zimbabwe and upscaling of testing in real time, on site in Matebeleland North, Matebeleland South, Bulawayo, Midlands, Manicaland, Masvingo, Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland East and Mashonaland West.
3. Training of Healthcare personnel
Whilst we acknowledge the integration of training to frontline healthcare workers
- We call upon expedited training for training in Non-Provincial metropolitan provinces to ensure as a strong preparedness in the health personal across the country.
4. Response to other health threats
Remaining concerned that Zimbabwe is facing a malaria outbreak which has claimed the lives of 131 citizens;
Aware that in a humanitarian crisis such as the one presented by COVID-19, there is always the potential threat to neglect other health issues and services, while directing all efforts and primary resources towards the crisis;
- We reiterate our call on Government to provide the necessary support measures to ensure that we do not lose more lives to this disease. Again, this borders on investing in our public health sector.
1. Rise in Gender Based Violence cases
Reiterating the concerns pertaining to the rise of GBV during the lockdown;
Noting with trepidation the lives of women having been put at risk during this time who unfortunately continue to rely on non-State actors whose operational functionality remains constrained.
- We therefore urge the expedition of the leadership of Government in protecting women and girls against violence from both private and public sources.
2. Designation of community workers as essential services
We continue to decry the failure to specifically designate social services officer and community workers as essential services.
- We therefore recommend active integration of community workers and social service workers into the COVID-19 response mechanisms.
3. Personal hygiene and caution
Lastly, we draw the attention of the Nation and recovering patients of COVID-19, to the World Health Organisation guidelines noting that recovery from COVID-19, does not indicate a patient’s immunity against re-infection or reactivation of the virus.
- We therefore urge everyone to continue, observing public health guidelines in efforts to contain the further spread of COVID-19.
This SITREP is develop by and through the collective network of organisational and individual members of the Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe who are engaged at community levels to national levels in the COVID19 Zimbabwe response
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ)