147 days of COVID-19 lockdown in Zimbabwe, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, as at 23 August 2020, the total number of COVID-19 cases increased to 5 930 confirmed cases after 37 new cases tested positive, of which all cases were local transmission cases. 2 death were recorded in this 24 hour period. Active cases are reported to have gone down to 903 after 243 new recoveries were reported, marking the 4th spike in cases of recoveries. A cumulative total of 4 872 recoveries have been recorded to date.
We continue to raise eyebrows on the rapid recovery rate in Zimbabwe. We call upon the government to explain to the concerned public the changes in policy in how recovered cases are pursued, in particular the matter relating to testing of persons who have had COVID-19. We call upon the case management practises, which may indeed be a leading global phenomena in Zimbabwe, to be shared publicly and amplify the measures in Zimbabwe on the global scale.
We applaud the decision by Parliament of Zimbabwe to ensure that all Members of Parliament will be subject to compulsory testing for COVID-19 upon stopping the resumption of Parliamentary sittings on the 1st of September.
- We urge all legislators to demonstrate commitment to adhere to the testing protocols and support the efforts to stem the spread of the disease.
- We call upon the Government to a holistic programme to give medical support services to COVID-19 patients.
- We call for affordable treatment of COVID-19 as medical package costs of the current treatment is lightly over USD100 which is out of reach for most patients.
- We further call for Members of Parliament, with the support of the Government to undertake programs to address the stigma of COVID-19 patients and support reintegration efforts.
- We continue to call upon the Government to increase resources to the testing and tracing of COVID-19 and resist the temptation to downscale the pandemic.
Critical Emerging Issues
Inadequate Change in Behaviour at Religious Gatherings
Today marked the 9th Sunday, since the restriction on church gatherings was lifted. Reports from our grassroots champions and networks, in Chivi, Guruve, Mutasa and Kwekwe areas, indicate that a huge number of congregants physically attended to their respective churches of worship.
We draw particular attention to the conduct of communal actions such as Choirs and performance groups who are continuing to undertake their activities without respective social distancing and wearing of masks. Due regard to the spread of the virus during such activities is critical. The lack of shift in behaviour in social settings is therefore deeply worrying, considering the rise in COVID-19 cases, especially community transmissions.
- We continue to urge church leaders to safeguard their congregants by ensuring strict compliance with the containment laws and public health guidelines.
Beerhalls and drinking spots in communities
We continue to note from our monitoring and observations, the illegal operations of beerhalls and nightspots in rural and urban residential areas. We continue to note with grave concern the lack of use of masks, santization and social distancing at these areas.
These drinking nightspots are not undertaking any service area retrofitting and thus despite the use of sanitizers at entrance points there are no real changes in behaviours in spots which the world over have been identified as key drivers of the pandemic.
We raise concern that these nightspots violate the 8pm to 6am curfew and appear to be doing so with the unofficial tacit consent of the authorities.
- 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.
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.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe