Zimbabwe COVID-19 Lockdown Monitoring Report 21 June 2020 – Day 84

Introduction
Sunday 21 June 2020 marked day 84 of the national lockdown declared by President Emmerson Mnangagwa and has been in place since 30 March 2020.   The Ministry of Health and Child Care reported an increase in the number of confirmed cases to four hundred and eighty-nine (489). The number of cumulative tests done stood at sixty-two thousand eight hundred and twelve (62 812). Of these, sixty-two thousand three hundred and twenty-three (62 323) were negative. The number of recoveries remained at sixty-three (63) and the death toll is now at six (6).  

Methodology
Information contained in this report is derived from the following Forum Members:

  • Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP)
  • Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
  • Counselling Services Unit (CSU)
  • Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR)
  • Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights)

General Updates
The National Police Spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi has advised that a male returnee quarantined at Harare Polytechnic Quarantine Centre absconded after testing positive to COVID-19 on 15 June. It was reported that police officers are also looking for another male returnee who absconded from the same quarantine centre without knowing his COVID-19 status. Police have appealed to relatives and friends of the escapees to report their whereabouts.

As part of efforts to improve transparency in the distribution of donations and grants, the government published a list of donations received and how they were distributed. The list which was published in the Sunday Mail showed the type of donation, who donated and who the beneficiaries of the donations were. This comes after the Minister of Health and Child Care was arrested on 19 June on allegations of criminal abuse of office.

In response to the pronouncement by the President for churches to resume operations, reports received nationally have indicated a rise in human traffic on Sundays. It was reported that in Chimanimani and Chipinge that some sects had 3 or 4 sessions of congregants with the recommended 50 congregants in each session. However, this created a challenge as the venues were not sanitised after every session. In Hwange, it was reported that most church members congregated with total disregard for COVID-19 measures specifically physical distancing. In Bikita, members of an apostolic sect had a burial service which was attended by over 300 people. Mourners did not wear face masks nor did they exercise physical distancing.

Water shortages have continued to have adverse effects on the efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19. It was reported that in Bulawayo, residents are only receiving tap water twice a week. However, some areas in Bulawayo have gone for more than three (3) months without running water. Residents have complained over the quality of water that they receive from the council. Similarly, residence in Chitungwiza have also raised concerns over the lack of adequate water at a time when high standards of hygiene are required. Chitungwiza residence have been receiving water bowsers from the local authorities and non-governmental organisations. However, residence have indicated that the water that is being supplies is not enough to meet the demand. Some people have resorted to sleeping at community boreholes to get a chance to fetch water. Similarly, in Tafara, some households have reportedly gone for more than five (5) years without running water. Most of the households have resorted to open sources of water.

‪On 21 June, most major hospitals in Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru and Mutare still did not have nurses on duty following the nationwide strike by nurses which started on 19 June. Reports indicate that patients were being turned away at Victoria Chitepo Hospital in Mutare. At Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals in Harare, most departments were virtually empty, including the paediatric emergency department. At the United Bulawayo Hospital, it was also reported that nurses did not turn up for duty citing incapacitation. Reports indicate that nurses cited incapacitation and lack of proper medical equipment as the primary reasons for the stay away. However, it was business as usual at Chitungwiza Hospital with nurses working normally.

Summary of violations
The table below summarises human rights violations documented by the Forum Secretariat and Forum Members from 30 March to 19 June 2020.

Nature of ViolationNumber of VictimsLocation
Assault278Harare, Zvishavane, Masvingo, Bulawayo, Wedza, Chinhoyi, Zaka, Gweru, Chitungwiza, Bindura, Nembudziya, Chiredzi, Marondera, Mutoko, Chivi, Bikita, Zvishavane, Mvurwi, Mutare, Marondera, Beitbridge, Domboshava, Wengezi
Attack on Journalists16Mutare, Gweru, Chinhoyi, Harare, Chiredzi, Masvingo, Beitbridge
Arrests467Masvingo, Gokwe, Gweru, Bulawayo, Chinhoyi, Hwange, Harare, Magunje, Lupane, Norton, Bikita, Mutasa, Chitungwiza, Nkayi, Makoni, Chipinge, Beitbridge, Lupane, Tsholotsho, Mwenezi, Guruve, Hwange, Murwi, Kwekwe
Malicious Damage to Property2Harare, Chitungwiza
Abductions3Harare

Conclusion
Amidst the increasing cases of confirmed COVID-19 cases the government is reopening public spaces such as churches, schools and the informal sector. The Forum is concerned that this will increase the risk of the spread of COVID-19 in public places such as churches and schools.

The Forum calls upon the government and the Ministry of Health and Child Care, in particular, to provide personal protective clothing to frontline workers, particularly medical professionals as they fight the COVID-19 pandemic. The Forum also calls on the government to address the concerns of medical practitioners at a time when they are the last line of defence against COVID-19.

Source: Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (HRForum)

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