Zimbabwe Lockdown: Day 217 – WCoZ Situation Report

217 days of COVID-19 lockdown in Zimbabwe, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, as of 1 November 2020, the total number of COVID-19 cases increased to 8 374 after 7 new cases were reported. 6 of the recorded cases are local cases while 1 is a returnee from Burundi. Active cases went down to 204. A total of 33 new recoveries were recorded; therefore, the total number of recoveries stands at 7 894. The death toll still stands at 243 as no death has been reported in the last 24 hours. We note with concern the steady rise of cumulative cases in the country.

We raise alarm at reports of door-to-door scams promoting fake COVID-19 testing kits for sale and COVID-19 remedies.

We urge vigilance in communities and call upon communities to verify such products and services with reputable service providers or the national hotline.

We commend reports from NatPharm indicating that local imports for critical supplies have been reduced by USD $4 million due to the on-boarding of local tertiary institutions in the medical supply value chain. We note that the period under view contains procurements of medical supplies at a value of USD $130 million.

  • We call upon the various initiatives directed and strengthening and expanding the local manufacturing and supply chain of medical services and products to expressly and directly ensure the participation of women and women-led businesses in the market value chain.
  • We call upon Government and critical stakeholders in the medical private sector to take deliberate efforts to ensure women and women’s groups who rapidly up-skilled and undertook widespread manufacturing of COVID-19 related supplies are not marginalized and left behind in the efforts to rebuild the manufacturing sector in this regard.
  • We urge the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee to remain vigilant in excising oversight in this regard.

Critical Emerging Issue

Community mass testing

While noting fluctuating statistics of active cases, and the increased relaxation of the lockdown, we recognize the need for an advanced testing strategy which ensures community mass testing and contact tracing. We submit that 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 the Government provide a clear plan of action to 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.

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 equal 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 various COVID-19 structures. We 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.
  • Inclusion of more women’s rights organisations in the taskforce teams.

Outstanding Issue

Live shows with large physical audiences in the artistic community 

As we once again enter a weekend, particularly a month-end weekend which is a payday weekend, we continue to highlight the reports of artistes holding live shows with physical audiences, which in itself is a contravention of COVID-19 regulations. 

Whilst we note, and highlight the incredible difficulties faced by the artistic community of Zimbabwe as a result of the lockdown restrictions and regulations that bar live performance shows which drive the lives and livelihoods of the sector, we raise alarm at the increased holding of live shows which have the potential to be super spreader events. In the same breath, we note the reports of the widespread occurrence of popular liquor nightspots, weekend gigs and other popular venues hosting live music shows around the country, without adherence to COVID-19 measures. 

We note the consistent and persistent rise in COVID-19 cases over the 25 days and note with concern that the mass resumption of sectors, without enforcement of COVID-19 regulations is leading Zimbabwe up the curve of the COVID-19 contraction of new cases. It is against this background, that we acknowledge the statements of the Zimbabwe Republic Police on the need to strictly enforce COVID-19 regulations;

  • We therefore call for increased awareness and publication of simplified rules on COVID-19 regulations.
  • We call for the expedition of real-time support to the artistic sector through both the resilience funds and the vulnerability support to ensure that the fragile arts sector receives real ameliorative support in the context of the on-going ban on their socio-economic engagements.

Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe

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