Zimbabwe Lockdown: Day 66 – WCoZ Covid-19 Situation Report

66 days into the lockdown, and the number of COVID-19 positive cases continue to soar. On 2 June 2020, 3 new cases were recorded, bringing the total number to 206. It has been reported that of the new 2 cases, are from returnees, while 1 case is a local transmission.

Commending joint efforts being made by traditional leaders and chiefs in Border areas, particularly Mudzi, in addressing challenges of illegal entry points.

We highlight the progressive decision handed down by the High Court today in regards to the conditions in the Mandatory quarantine centres. We urge Government to expedite, adherence to the law and demonstrate its commitment to upholding constitutional rights by providing segregated and hygienic conditions with proper control and protection for all persons in quarantine as provided by the court. We await the report on respect of the court ruling.

Critical Emerging Issues

1. Restrictions in movement by the security agents

Reports from across our networks indicate intensifying restrictions in citizens’ movement by the Police and army. This has been noted particularly in Shurugwi, Kwekwe, Chipinge and Harare. In other instances, it has been reported that most travellers were turned away and barred from entering the Harare Central Business District.

  • We call for urgent clarification of what is essential services as several persons protected by the definition of essential services under COVID-19 regulations were removed from public transport and turned away from the Harare Central Business District.
  • We call for an official position on movement, travel permits and essential services, as we have noted growing inconsistences in the last 48 hours.
  • We further call upon the enforcing agents to exercise restraint and avoid unleashing terror and violence upon communities, under the guise of enforcing lockdown.

2. Delay in implementing social protection measures

Communities continue to face hunger and impoverishment in the face of the indefinite lockdown and delayed social protection program by Government. This has raised a general sense of discontent and disgruntlement by the communities over the delays in the implementation of social protection measures by Government.

We are further perplexed by statements from Government Ministers demanding that persons who have not received disbursements or support in the form of social protection measures, must directly engage the respective ministries, to follow up on their potential access to support.

This position is untenable, it does not demonstrate a responsive, proactive and accountable government practice, especially in a period of lockdown and particularly as this support targets vulnerable persons who are being asked to constantly undertake additional actions to access services after having undergone and onerous registration systems which to date has not been transparently reported upon.

  • We call for Government to address the status of the verification and vetting report of the registration for social protection mechanisms.
  • We urge the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare to expedite the implementation of social protection programs to alleviate economic shocks upon vulnerable households.
  • We further call the State to order, particularly on its duty to ensure that citizens enjoy the progressive realisation of their right to food and water.

Outstanding Issues

1. Schools re-opening for the exam classes only

Following Government’s position on schools re-opening, we still await full guidance on the following issues:

  • The type of standard masks to be used by teachers and pupils.
  • Testing of pupils, teachers and other staff members.
  • Early COVID-19 detection measures and early warning systems within the school community.

We are gravely concerned by engagements and messaging from the highest levels of Government that indicates that individual households and families facing incredible strain will be once again asked to shoulder the burden of securing hygiene, sanitization and testing services for the resumption of education sector.

  • We call for government make provisions and announce schools sanitisation program which will be rolled out nationally to cover centres of education prior resumption of education.

2. ZUPCO sole transport provider

We further note that Government has announced that ZUPCO shall continue to be the sole transport provider for the public. Government further announced that in trying to meet the high demand by travellers, a ZUPCO bus may now carry more passengers than previously allowed.

  • We reiterate that such a pronouncement fails to effectively address the reality of COVID-19, especially when the nation is currently experiencing an alarming increase in COVID-19 cases. We note that allowing ZUPCO bus to carry more passengers in one trip, simply implies overcrowding and non-observance of both physical and social distancing.

3. Conditions in Mandatory Quarantine and Isolation Centres

The number of returnees, including women and children, travelling back to Zimbabwe and proceeding to mandatory quarantine centres continue to grow.

Concerned with the risks and vulnerabilities faced by such women, children, persons living with disabilities held I quarantine;

We continue to urge Government to enhance the provision of:

  • Access to applicable and supportive ameliorative services for women, the elderly, children, and persons living with disabilities in quarantine.
  • Appropriate and adequate provision of water and sanitization.
  • Applicable safety and security measures in place at centres to address the complex blend of returning residents and deportees of various classes.
  • Access to services, including adequate sexual and reproductive health services, to both men and women without stigma.

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 COVID19 Zimbabwe response.

Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ)

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