90 days into the lockdown, the Ministry of Health and Child-Care reported that as at 27 June 2020, the total number of Covid-19 cases had risen to 567, after 6 new cases were recorded today from returnees from South Africa. According to statistics, to date, a total of 142 cases have recovered since the onset of the outbreak on 20 March 2020.
Critical Emerging Issues
Schools re-opening for the exam classes
A few days before the June 2020 ZIMSEC exams begin, we query the education sector’s readiness in ensuring that students and staff are not exposed to Covid-19. This comes against the background where we have, of late witnessed an increase in community transmission cases. We continue to pose the following questions: Noting that the majority of citizens, including pupils and teachers have been using different types of facemasks, most of which are not recommended for use for Covid-19 prevention, will Government provide all learners and their teachers with appropriate face-masks to minimize the potential spread of Covid-19?
Secondly, what is the position of ensuring that all learners and teachers are tested prior to commencement of lessons? In addition, for those in boarding schools, what measures have put in place to ensure social distancing of learners in their day to day lives?, Thirdly, what are the preventative measures put in place to ensure that the schools and learning institutions staff and other day-scholars, from the outside world do not carry the virus to the school premises? And if they do, what are the early detection measures and early warning systems put in place by Government?
Safety and crime
We remain concerned with reports from our networks indicating an increase of crime in their communities. Particularly, in Chinhoyi and Harare areas, where our networks have submitted reports of cases of robberies and theft targeted at women. We note that an increase in crime may break public trust, leading to community unrest under Covid-19;
- We therefore buttress our call 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.
Safety of public transport
Reports from our grassroots networks continue to point to non-adherence to physical distancing measures while accessing public transport. The lack of capacity by the public transport system to comply with public safety protocols must be addressed urgently before transport hubs and ZUPCO services become points of high-risk exposure to potential infection.
- We therefore continue to raise alarm on the risks posed by the public transport system in spreading the Covid-19.
- We call upon the enforcement agents to effectively enforce social distancing at bus terminuses and pick up points.
- 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 enhance the capacity of the public transport system to cater for the high demand by the public.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe