146 days of COVID-19 lockdown in Zimbabwe, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, as at 22 August 2020, the total number of COVID-19 cases increased to 5 893 confirmed cases after 78 new cases tested positive, of which all cases were local transmission cases. According to statistics, active cases now stand at 1 111, with 42 new recoveries and a cumulative total of 4 629 recoveries have been recorded to date. The number of deaths are now at 153 with 1 death recorded in the 24 hour period.
We highlight reports regarding the state of households in Zimbabwe. The Zimbabwe National Statistics agency, ZimStat has reported that the amount of money an average Zimbabwean household (calculated at a household of five persons, now requires an additional 33% in income since June 2020 to purchase both food and non-food items, this is commonly referred to as the total consumption poverty line (TCPL).
In other words, households now need ZWL$15 572, 85 (USD$187.80) up from ZWL$11 333, 80 (USD$136, 68) in June 2020 in real terms this is an additional USD$51, 12 which is out of reach for many households. Household that have less than this amount available to purchase these products are deemed poor. The implications on women and communities is catastrophic in light of inflation at 837,57%, the continued lockdown on the informal sector which is the largest employer in Zimbabwe and directly provides economic and social opportunities for women and girls.
Critical Emerging Issues
Use of public transport
Reports continue to highlight concern over ZUPCO’s waning responsiveness to COVID-19. Reports show that most of the ZUPCO buses are failing to maintain public health safety protocols such as physical distancing, and sanitization. This raises concern as we experience the spike of COVID-19 cases at unprecedented levels and as such slackening may affect the system’s ability to detect potential COVID-19 cases amongst the commuting public, thus exposing the public to infection.
- 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.
Use of masks
Our monitoring reports indicate that communities in most urban residential areas, have continued to disregard the use of masks. This has been noted particularly in Warren Park, Mbizo Kwekwe, Glenview and Guruve, where citizens continue to move around without properly wearing masks, (the majority usually have the masks hanging on their chins).
- We urge communities and citizens to follow the proper use of masks, and to ensure strict compliance with the public health guidelines, in their day to day lives, and not only when travelling to their respective Central Business Districts.
- We further urge the Ministry of Health and Childcare, the media and stakeholders to widely disseminate information and intensify awareness raising.
Access to sexual reproductive rights and sanitary wear
As marginalised sections of the population, in particular women and girls continue to face the brunt of the lockdown, challenges continue to mount on access to sexual reproductive health products, such as sanitary wear. This challenge has been attributed to budgetary and financial constrains presented by the lockdown measures, which have resulted in most households losing their income generating capacity. Noting that this status quo, will continue to obtain indefinitely, due to the fact that the lockdown period was declared indefinite.
Noting further that the 2020 National Budget already contained direct treasury provision for the provision of sanitary wear to girls we continue to raise the importance of making this commitment tangible.
- We therefore recommend that Government rightly directs its attention to the challenges that women and girls are currently facing, and address those appropriately.
- We continue to call upon Government to develop and implement programs that will ensure that women and girls access free sanitary wear during the lockdown.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe