161 days of Covid-19 lockdown in Zimbabwe, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, as of 6 September 2020, the total number of Covid-19 cases increased to 7116. This case count goes up after a Saturday night (5th September 2020 update issued late on the morning of 6 September) recording of 140 new cases and today Sunday, a recording of 139 new cases. Active cases are now at 1535 with 2 deaths recorded in total over the two days, at a rate of 1 death per day, pushing the death toll up to 206 as the weekend draws to an end.
Today we noted, as has become the trend throughout the country, during weekends, the high rate of impunity to the marked increase of non-adherence to lockdown measures and public health guidelines in respect of beerhalls and drinking spots, in both rural and urban communities, continuing to operate well into the night and beyond the prescribed times. We continue to challenge the statements from state representatives that the curve has been flattened.
- We call for increased testing and the ramping up of access to testing kits and material for Zimbabwe.
- We call for expanded and devolved testing regimens to be deployed across the country.
These measures are critical as the country continues to rapidly ease restrictive measures while the need to keep abreast of the epidemic in the country grows.
Critical Emerging Issues
Stigma and discrimination
Reports continue to increase of social stigma and discriminatory behaviours against people diagnosed with Covid-19 and those perceived to have been in contact with the virus, including health care personnel. We note that stigma can undermine social cohesion and drive people to hide the illness in order to avoid discrimination. This may result in the disease likely spreading as people fail to seek immediate medical attention.
- We therefore recommend that stakeholders, community leaders and Government, intensify efforts in meaningfully engaging at the community level, with citizens, including people who have recovered from Covid-19, with their consent, to lead in increasing awareness and reducing stigma and discrimination.
Safeguarding women’s and girls’ rights in the time of Covid-19
We continue to bring to the fore, safeguarding women’s and girls’ rights, during Covid-19. This is anchored on adequate representation of women in decision-making positions with the Covid-19 response structures. Women’s solutions should be informed by women’s experiences and lived realities. We therefore highlight the lack of adequate women’s representation and provide the following recommendations.
- A gender lens approach to all Covid-19 preparedness, response and recovery efforts by Government, Parliament, decision-makers, local authorities and other stakeholders.
- Implementation of Constitutional provisions, particularly, sections 17, 56 and 80, which speak to gender balance, and equality in representation in all spheres of the Zimbabwe society.
- Inclusion of more women’s rights organisations in the taskforce teams.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe