198 days of COVID-19 lockdown in Zimbabwe, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, as of 13 October 2020, the total number of COVID-19 cases increased 8 036, after 15 new cases was reported. Active cases went up to 174 and 5 new recoveries were recorded. The total number of recoveries stands at 7 632. The death toll currently stands at 230.
Emerging Critical Issues
Community mass testing
We recognize the need for an advanced test strategy which ensures community mass testing and contact tracing. In the absence of mass community testing and public accounting for local transmission case-tracing, it is impossible to determine the appropriate reflection of the COVID-19 pandemic prevalence in Zimbabwe.
- We call for increased testing and the ramping up of access to testing kits and consumables for Zimbabwe.
- We therefore recommend that the Government provide a clear plan of action in maintaining vigilance on COVID-19 on testing tracing and treatment for the current period to Mid-year 2021.
- We further reinforce our call for an advanced testing strategy in the public sector and urge Government to update the nation on the progress of testing of all members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police, and all lockdown enforcement officers.
Use of public transport
Reports from our networks continue to reveal the possibility of a terrifying time-bomb in the form of ZUPCO, the lead public transport provider. There is concern over its waning responsiveness to COVID-19.
Reports show that most of the ZUPCO buses are no longer maintaining public health safety protocols such as physical distancing, sanitization and temperature checks. Such slackening will 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.
Placing women’s rights at the core of COVID-19 response
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 within the COVID-19 response structures. We emphasize that women’s solutions should be informed by women’s experiences and lived realities. We therefore highlight the lack of adequate women’s representation in the health structures and call for:
- 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 Zimbabwean society.
- Inclusion of more women’s rights organisations in the taskforce teams.
Non adherence to lockdown restrictions and containment measures
We continue to note a general trend, throughout communities, businesses and public spaces, indicating a relaxation in observing social distancing, use of face masks and sanitizers.
Further noting that the same trends have been observed within the public transport system;
Gravely concerned with the continuing spike of COVID-19 cases and concerned that failure to observe social and physical distancing adequately may erode all the gains recorded so far in the COVID-19 battle,
- We recommend a strict enforcement of the lockdown.
- We remind the general populace on the need to fortify their efforts in maintaining both social and physical distancing, in every environment which may include work, public transport or supermarkets.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe