234 days of COVID-19 lockdown in Zimbabwe, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, as of 17 November 2020, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 8 945 after 48 new cases were reported, of which 47 were local cases. Active cases have gone down to 521. The total number of recoveries stands at 8 164 after 20 new recoveries were recorded. The death toll remains at 260.
Critical Emerging Issues
Increased social activities and non-compliance with COVID-19 prevention measures
We continue to note the growing practice of non-adherence to safety measures such as physical distancing, sanitization of workplaces, wearing of facemasks and regular temperature checks. Our networks have also raised concern over some commuter operators plying long-distance routes failing to maintain public health safety protocols such as physical distancing, and sanitization. This raises concerns, especially in a context where COVID-19 is quickly gaining ground in schools and tertiary institutions. The latest statistics reveal that 7 University students have tested positive at a local University. We, therefore, worry that such complacency displayed by the public, businesses and employers may plunge the country into another wave of COVID-19.
- We urge citizens to observe public health guidelines as they meet and interact in public places.
- 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 public transport operators.
- We urge businesses to continuously fumigate premises and workplaces for the safety of workers and patrons.
COVID-19 regaining strength
We are alarmed to learn that approximately 100 pupils have tested positive for COVID-19 in Bulawayo. We are further distressed to note that despite our several warnings and calls upon Government to prioritize the prevention of COVID-19 transmission in schools, no adequate or comprehensive steps were taken in prioritizing the safety of the learners, teachers and ancillary staff. We are particularly concerned for the underprivileged schools that may not have proper resources for the early detection of COVID-19 cases. Raising alarm that, as it stands, the nation is sitting on a time bomb, we recommend immediate suspension of operations within the Education sector, until the following issues have been attended to:
- Government sponsored mandatory COVID-19 testing of all learners, teachers and ancillary staff.
- Strengthening safety protocols and measures within the Education sector to minimize the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in schools.
- Provision of facemasks and sanitizers at no cost to pupils, teachers and ancillary staff.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe