177 days of COVID-19 lockdown in Zimbabwe, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, as at 22 September 2020, the total number of COVID-19 cases increased to 7 711 following a record of 5 new cases. Active cases went down to 1 506, following the record of 31 recoveries. The total number of recoveries stands at 5 979. The death toll now stands at 226.
We note the announcement by Government on the phased opening of schools, starting next week. We continue to emphasise the need to prioritise the safety of learners together with their teachers and supporting staff. We continue to highlight the need to engage in progressive dialogue with the education sector. We remain concerned that teachers earn the equivalent of USD1 per day. We are concerned a that the re-opening of schools; after hefty price increases in school fees, payments for fees for second term student did not attend and the burden of COVID-19 preparation that all will be for naught as 40 000 teachers potentially down schools to the detriment of all.
We further note Cabinet’s announcement on the revision on the number persons at communal religious gatherings from a maximum of 50 persons to 100 persons. We call upon the leadership of religious, cultural and social events to lead to ensuring the maintenance of strict adherence to anti-COVID-19 measures. We urge the general public to be responsible in ensuring their safety and that of others in various interactions.
Critical Emerging Issue
Community transmission: workplaces and public spots
Our networks report increased economic and social activities within communities and businesses. The reports also reveal non-adherence to safety measures such as physical distancing, sanitization of workplaces and regular temperature checks. We worry that such conduct may lead the nation into another spike of COVID-19 cases.
- We urge citizens to observe physical distancing as they meet and interact in public places such as banking halls.
- We urge businesses to continuously fumigate premises and workplaces for the safety of workers and patrons.
- We continue to call for the strict implementation of public health safety protocols in the public transport system.
Hunger and delay in implementing social protection measures
We highlight the World Food Program report that indicates that 75% of Zimbabwe Urban Workers have been rendered jobless by the COVID-19 pandemic related restrictions.
We highlight the scourge of exacerbated social vulnerabilities related to such a grave circumstance and the need for widespread aggressive rebuilding agenda to ensure that lives and saved in the pursuit of non-consultative economic restructuring that has a high risk to create jobless, rootless growth.
Whilst we continue to note that Government is yet to avail funds for the COVID-19 relief pay-out, we continue to remain dismayed by the lack urgency by the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare to provide real tangible social safety nets. This has raised a general sense of discontent and disgruntlement by the communities over the delays in the implementation of social protection measures by Government.
- We query policy measures put in place by Government to ensure that citizens access basic commodities in the time of COVID-19.
- We further call the State to order, particularly on its duty to ensure that citizens enjoy the progressive realisation of their fundamental right to food and water.
- We therefore call upon the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare to expedite the implementation of social protection programs to alleviate economic shocks upon vulnerable households.
- We recommend an increase in the COVID-19 relief pay-outs and an expediated implementation of social protection programs for all vulnerable households.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ)