ZIMBABWE LOCKDOWN: DAY 54 – WCoZ COVID-19 Situation Report

54 Days into the lockdown, and the Ministry of Health and Child-Care reported that as at 21 May 2020, cumulatively a total of 34 707 rapid screening tests and 15 084 PCR diagnostic tests had been conducted. The total number of positive cases stands at 51.

We continue to raise concern over the recent sharp increase of COVID-19 positive cases, and therefore recommend reinforced mechanisms for mass testing and tracing. To that end, we buttress calls upon the Ministry of Health and Child Care to urgently update the nation on the testing status of Business and Government agencies personnel who resumed operations under level 2 after having received a reprieve to temporarily suspend mandatory testing.

  • We note the visit and the support of the Chinese experts on COVID-19 and their extensive tour around Zimbabwe’s COVID-19 response facilities and assessment of the interventions.
  • We note that the delegation has presented a report which notes the delegations recommendations to the Government of Zimbabwe.
  • We call for the Government of Zimbabwe to demonstrate its commitment to openness and transparency in addressing COVID-19 and make the report public.

Critical Emerging Issues

  1. Food and price hikes

We continue to witness worsening economic hardships in communities, in both, rural and urban settings due to the loss of income earning capacity for most households;

Furthermore, today we witnessed price hikes of basic commodities such as cooking oil, sugar and flour as the Zimbabwe dollar continues to lose value against the US dollar.

Aware that this situation increases the level of vulnerability of already struggling households and will force more and more families to go to bed on an empty stomach, particularly women-led households which fully rely on the informal economy;

  • We urge the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, and also the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe to investigate cases of illegal price hikes of basic commodities.
  • We continue to urge the Ministry of Labour, Public Service and Social Welfare to expedite disbursement of food aid and grants to vulnerable communities in a transparent manner, without any political interference.
  • We continue to remind Government, of section 77 of the Constitution, which guarantees every person the right to sufficient food, and places an obligation on the State to achieve the progressive realisation of this right.
  1. Security and crime

We raise concern over the growing reports of crime, namely, robberies and theft, particularly, in several neighbourhoods around Harare;

Concerned that the lockdown has been heavily securitised but that the targeting of providing community services and security has been skewed by the state security perspective and deployment priorities.

  • We buttress our calls upon the Zimbabwe Republic Police to strengthen securitization of COVID-19 responses, with the sole intention to curb crime and violence against women. In doing so, we urge the Police to uphold citizen’s constitutional rights.

Outstanding Issues

  1. Public Transport challenges

We continue to note reports from our networks across the country pointing to challenges in accessing public transport and lack of capacity by ZUPCO to meet the high demand;

Understanding that these challenges have made it nearly impossible for passengers to observe physical distancing;

Appreciating the efforts by ZUPCO to bring in franchised commuter omnibuses in order to strengthen its capacity to meet the high demand of customers;

  • We warn that if proper mitigatory measures are not established, to ensure physical distancing in addition to decontamination and use of masks, the public transport system will be our undoing in this COVID-19 battle.
  • We continue to call upon the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing and also the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development to strengthen the safety of the public transport system in order to cater for the high demand by the public whilst limiting the COVID-19 risk factors to commuters and operators alike.
  1. Water and Sanitation

Remaining concerned with the dire water situation currently obtaining throughout the country, in areas such as Dangamvura in Mutare, Warren Park in Harare and Mkoba in Gweru;

Noting that water is a universal human right, guaranteed by the Supreme law of the land; Aware that in April, the High Court delivered a ruling, ordering the adequate provision of water;

  • We reinforce our calls upon the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works and all local authorities in their respective districts, to ensure adequate provision water, through the urgent escalation and expedition of the implementation of short and long-term strategies.

This SITREP is developed 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 COVID-19 Zimbabwe response.

Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ)

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