160 days of Covid-19 lockdown in Zimbabwe, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, as at 4 September 2020, the total number of Covid-19 cases increased to 6 837 confirmed cases after 159 new cases tested positive. 158 are local transmission cases while 1 is an imported case. The National Recovery rate currently stands at 78%. Active cases are reported to have gone up to 1 286. A cumulative total of 5 345 recoveries have been recorded to date. The death toll stands at 206 deaths.
Critical Emerging Issues
ZUPCO fares increase
We note the latest ZUPCO bus fare increases for local buses and commuter omnibuses. We note that bus fares previously pegged at ZWL $8 have gone up to ZWL $16, from ZWL $12 to ZWL $24 and from ZWL $16 to ZWL $32. We raise concerns over the manner in which the fares are increased with immediate effect, by the authorities, without prior mass notice to the commuting public in order to allow planning. We frown over this tendency of ambushing citizens on critical issues which have a bearing on their finances and day to day lives. Particularly so, noting that ZUPCO is currently the sole public transport operator licenced to operate during the lockdown;
- We urge a downward review of the fares in order to allow the commuting public, and the majority who are of limited means to be able to access the public transport system without any hinderances.
- In addition, we urge the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing and also the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development to enhance the capacity of the public transport system to cater for the high demand by the public.
Non adherence to lockdown measures in residential areas
Our monitoring reports continue to indicate relaxation in observing social distancing and use of masks, in retail shops and residential areas, especially in Harare, Kwekwe, Gweru, Guruve, Mutasa and Sanyati areas. While the statistics on Covid-19 may seem to be improving, we raise concern over such non-vigilance on the part of communities. Distressed that failure to adequately observe public health guidelines, may result in a new wave of Covid-19 case spikes;
- We remind the general populace of the need to fortify their efforts in maintaining both social and physical distancing, in every environment which may include work, public transport or supermarkets.
- We further recommend strict enforcement of the lockdown measures, not only in the Central Business Districts, but in residential areas as well.
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.
- We therefore recommend that Government rightly directs its attention to the challenges that women and girls are currently facing, and address those appropriately. We 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