Zimbabwe COVID-19 Lockdown Monitoring Report 4-5 August 2020 – Days 126-127

This report covers two days, Tuesday 4 and Wednesday 5 August 2020 which marked days 126 and 127 of the national lockdown declared by President Emmerson Mnangagwa and has been in place since 30 March 2020 respectively. By Wednesday 5 August 2020 confirmed COVID-19 cases had increased to four thousand three hundred and thirty-nine (4 339). Local transmissions accounted for three thousand two hundred and forty-five (3 245) cases. The number of cumulative tests done stood at one hundred and forty-two thousand two hundred and nineteen (142 219). The death toll increased to eighty-four (84).

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)
  • Media Institute for Southern Africa (MISA)

President Mnangagwa appointed Vice President Constantino Guveya Dominic Nyikadzino Chiwenga as Minister of Health and Childcare with immediate effect. The message was announced by Chief Secretary to the Office of the President and Cabinet Misheck Sibanda on Tuesday afternoon.  Chiwenga is supposed to implement a quick turnaround in national healthcare.

ZANU-PF acting Secretary for Information and Publicity Patrick Chinamasa reported that twenty-six ZANU-PF staffers have tested positive to COVID-19 and have since been notified and have gone into self-isolation. ZANU-PF tested 154 staffers last week and those that are symptomatic have since been advised to seek immediate and urgent medical attention.

Zimbabwe Embassy in SA has been a granted a special waiver to facilitate the repatriation of bodies of deceased Zimbabweans during COVID-19 pandemic period.  Secretary for Information Nick Mangwana advised that deceased undocumented Zimbabweans can now be repatriated based on an affidavit from the Chief /Headman or relatives in Zimbabwe. Recently the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria and the Centre for Applied Legal Studies, University of the Witwatersrand said it is deeply concerned about the situation of migrants in South Africa during this COVID-19 crisis.

Matabeleland South Provincial medical officer Rudo Chikodzore advised that twenty nurses at Maphisa District Hospital tested positive for coronavirus this week, sending the settlement, predominantly occupied by civil servants, gold miners and panners into a panic mode as some residents had contact with the affected health workers. Agribank Maphisa was also temporarily closed after a staff member tested positive.

Former Justice Deputy Minister and MDC-T Deputy President Obert Gutu has urged the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to dump proposed plans to bypass by-elections and have vacant parliamentary seats filled by party nominees. ZEC is preparing a policy document that will see vacant National Assembly seats being filled with party nominees and has since invited stakeholders to submit their views on the proposed system due to COVID-19. The commission should consider conducting by-elections to fill vacancies that arose in the National Assembly and within the country’s local authorities.

Commuters in Bulawayo were left stranded on Tuesday as fuel shortages grounded most of the ZUPCO fleet. The city has been facing acute fuel shortages which the Ministry of Energy and Power Development said was a nationwide crisis owing to foreign currency shortages. Fresh transport problems started on Monday afternoon as there were very few buses and combis servicing routes and many people opted to walk home. At 6 pm yesterday, which marks the start of the lockdown curfew, people were still queuing at some ZUPCO ranks waiting for transport, while a number of people walked home to suburbs as far as Cowdray Park which is 20kilometres away from town.

The Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) has temporarily closed its head office after some employees tested positive to COVID-19 to allow disinfection of the premises. PICK n Pay Supermarket Bindura branch closed on Monday after one of its staff members tested positive to COVID-19. In a letter dated August 3 the management said they have temporarily closed and all the staff members are currently undergoing screening and testing in accordance with the Ministry of Health and Child Care guidance. Beitbridge Border Post temporarily closed for decontamination after five employees of the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) tested positive for COVID-19, amid reports that the cases had risen to 12.

Summary of violations
The table below summarises human rights violations documented by the Forum Secretariat and Forum Members from 30 March to 5 August 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 Journalists20Mutare, Gweru, Chinhoyi, Harare, Chiredzi, Masvingo, Beitbridge, Bulawayo
Arrests511Masvingo, Gokwe, Gweru, Bulawayo, Chinhoyi, Hwange, Harare, Magunje, Lupane, Norton, Bikita, Mutasa, Chitungwiza, Nkayi, Makoni, Chipinge, Beitbridge, Lupane, Tsholotsho, Mwenezi, Guruve, Hwange, Murwi, Kwekwe, Chinhoyi, Chiredzi
Gunshots2Chitungwiza, Bulawayo

The Forum remains gravely concerned by the number of confirmed COVID-19 infections that continue to rise.  The Forum, therefore, urges the government to do the following:

  • COVID-19 Taskforce to properly devise and implement strategies that target the hotspots that are contributing to the increase of local transmissions of COVID-19;
  • Provide personal protective equipment to all front-line workers and other law enforcement officers to curb in-country transmissions;
  • The Ministry of Health to provide adequate personal protective equipment to all health workers at all institutions in the country;
  • To ensure adequate dissemination of information to citizens to ensure that they are informed on the COVID-19 pandemic and measures required to curb the spread of infections.
  • Investigate cases of abductions and bring perpetrators to justice. 

Source: Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (HRForum)

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