Zimbabwe Lockdown: Day 139 – WCoZ Situation Report

139 days of COVID-19 lockdown in Zimbabwe, the Ministry of Health and Child-Care reported that, as at 15 August 2020, the total number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 5 176 confirmed cases after 104 new cases tested positive. All 104 new cases are local transmission. The death toll stands at 130 after 2 deaths were reported today.49 recoveries were recorded.

We continue to note the higher recovery rate in Bulawayo as opposed to Harare and call for the sufficient exchange of information regarding case management, best practices and enablers to be part of the centre of the hospital support system. We remain committed to raising issues of the critical need to provide adequate PPE’s and other critical services to the essential services health workers to ensure that Zimbabwe can overcome the potential of increased cases ad increased hospitalisation and save lives.

We draw attention to the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment (ZimVAC report) June 2020 which states an alarming number of 2.2million people will be cereal insecure, in our view, will face hunger. We further draw attention to the World Food Program which projects that the number of persons facing hunger in Zimbabwe is likely to increase by almost 50% by the end of 2020.Of this percentage in real terms approximately 8.6 million people, including 5.3 million people in rural areas and 3.3 million people in urban areas, or 60% of the population is expected be food insecure due to the combined effects of drought, economic recession and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Critical Emerging Issues

Women safety and public transport challenges

Citizens heavily reliant on public transport continue to face challenges accessing transport to and from work. This has seen most men and women jostling with each other as they attempt to board the limited ZUPCO buses. Concerns from our networks highlight violence and sexual harassment perpetrated against women, which include fondling of private parts and pick-pocketing by some unscrupulous males.  This has resulted in most women failing to board buses on time in order to beat the curfew. Again, this situation creates a big problem for women, as they find themselves helplessly on the wrong side of the lockdown regulations,  and at the mercy of the enforcement officers.

  • We recommend putting in places measures that ensure safe spaces for women and girls in the public transport sector. This may include setting up 2 separate queues for men and women respectively and ensuring supervised ‘zebra system’ boarding.
  • We further recommend deployment of law enforcement officers at every bus terminus for enforcement of order, and ensuring that women are not harassed as they attempt to board the buses. 

Beerhalls and drinking spots in communities

Reports from our networks today continue to reveal widespread operations and sprouting of illegal pubs, bars and drinking spots in both rural and urban communities, selling alcohol and serving patrons well into the night and operating beyond the prescribed COVID-19 regulations. From our monitoring and observations today, it appears Saturday is  party day, as merry makers continue to meet up in groups at bottle stores, open-airs where they enjoy their beers, without any adherence to public health guidelines such as wearing of masks. In areas such as Plumtree, others are hosting house parties with over 50 revellers in attendance.

  • We urge enforcement officers to intensify lockdown enforcement in residential area, rather than concentrating on Central Business District and other areas in the proximity.
  • We continue to urge communities, and citizens to be responsible in safeguarding their health by complying with public health guidelines.

Outstanding Issue

Community transmission: workplaces and public spots

COVID-19 cases continue to increase, our monitoring of trends and patterns, indicate that public spots and workplaces may have become hotspots for community transmission. Long queues at banking halls has also become a cause for concern, as we have observed lack of physical distancing.

  • We urge citizens to observe physical distancing as they meet and interact in public places such as banking halls.

Commending Government in taking action to fumigate the Government Complex in Mutare and undertaking to consistently do so every fortnight.

  • We urge that the practice be religiously adhered to, and extended to other public offices as well, even where COVID-19 have not been recorded.

Our networks in Gwanda have raised concern over ZUPCO’s non-adherence to public health guidelines, particularly on overcrowding of passengers.

  • We continue to call for the strict implementation of public health safety protocols in the public transport system.

We urge enforcement agents to ensure that physical distancing is upheld by the ZUPCO transport operators.

Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ)

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