132 days of COVID-19 lockdown in Zimbabwe, the Ministry of Health and Child-Care reported that, as at 7 August 2020, the total number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 4 451 confirmed cases after 56 cases tested positive, 54 of these are local transmissions.
Distressing reports throughout our networks continue to indicate a relaxation in observing social distancing by communities in the rural areas and high-density residential areas. The reports also indicate, that regardless of the curfew, certain community night spots continue to operate illegally, in connivance with enforcement officers.
Critical Emerging Issues
Abscondment from Quarantine Centres
We continue to record cases of returnees escaping from Quarantine Centres.
We note the risk posed by absconding returnees as there is a possibility that without knowing their COVID-19 status, they may mingle with the rest of the communities and spread the infection.
- We continue to call for stringent measures in fortifying security systems within the quarantine facilities to ensure that no one absconds the same.
- We further urge Government to ensure that the facilities are fully capacitated to meet the diverse needs of the diverse quarantined returnees. This includes sanitization, adequate sexual and reproductive health services and supplies, to all genders.
Arrests and adherence to safety protocols
As the Zimbabwe Republic Police continue to record increasing numbers of arrests made for various offences in relation to contravention of the lockdown regulations.
- We continue to urge security agents, in executing their mandate to be alive to the real threat of COVID-19, and be more cautious when carrying out arrests, by desisting from actions that may endanger both their lives and those of offenders.
- We urge observance of physical distancing of arrested persons, the use of sanitizers and disinfection of the cells.
- We await the long overdue update on the COVID-19 tracing status of the above-mentioned Prisons.
- We continue to urge Government to urgently publicize and implement a comprehensive crisis plan to cater for the rights, needs and safety of detainees in the COVID-19 era. Paying particular attention to vulnerable detainees such as juveniles, pregnant women, persons with disabilities and those with underlying health conditions.
Women in Quarantine and isolation centres
We continue to reflect on the status of Quarantine and isolation centres in addressing gender-specific issues such as sexual abuse, violence and hygiene. In order to ensure security and safeguarding of women and children, who are the most vulnerable sections of the population, there are critical measures that need to be established and implemented. This calls for accelerated safeguarding frameworks within the centres through the integration of SGBV into the Quarantine Centres Management, including training of staff on how to properly service different genders. We further recommend establishment of protection Guidelines and dissemination of information in the 16 National Languages, on sexual violence prevention and reporting within the centres and the help available. It is also recommended that Government enhances the provision of:
- Access to applicable and supportive ameliorative services for women, the elderly, children, and persons living with disabilities in quarantine.
- Access to services, including adequate sexual and reproductive health services, to both men and women without stigma.
- Appropriate and adequate provision of water and sanitization.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe