243 days of COVID-19 lockdown in Zimbabwe, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, as of 27 November 2020, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases increased to 9 714 after 91 new local cases were reported. Active cases went up to 969. The total number of recoveries now stands at 8 470 after 73 new recoveries were recorded. The death toll now stands at 275 after 1 death was recorded.
We shine a spotlight on buses engaging in inter-provincial travel. We are deeply concerned by the complete relaxation of COVID-19 measures on the buses. We note with concern reports from travellers indicating the high level of inconsistencies in ensuring sanitisation on the buses.
Whilst, we note that there is high adherence in requesting passengers to have masks, it does not translate to requests that passengers actually wear those masks.
Further, there are clear inconsistencies in providing sanitizers prior boarding of buses and even usage of sanitizers during journey that often are over 3 hour journeys.
In the context of the increased cases of COVID-19 in Zimbabwe and concerned with the low testing rate of the country, we call for increased enforcement of COVID-19 measures on public transport to ensure that we reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19 domestically due to travel.
Critical Emerging Issues
Increased social activities and non-compliance with COVID-19 prevention measures
We raise concern over unauthorised public transport vehicles, which are illegally operating, without observing health safety protocols such as physical distancing, and sanitization. Despite the increasing cases of COVID-19, We also continue to note the growing practice of non-adherence to safety measures such as physical distancing, wearing of facemasks and regular temperature checks by businesses. This raises concern especially in a context where COVID-19 is quickly gaining ground in schools and tertiary institutions. We therefore worry that such complacency displayed by the public, businesses and employers may plunge the country into another wave of COVID-19.
- We applaud enforcement agents to strengthening efforts to ensure adherence to COVID-19 prevention measures.
- We urge citizens to observe public health guidelines as they meet and interact in public places such as drinking spots and beerhalls.
- We continue to call for the strict implementation of public health safety protocols in the public transport system.
- We urge businesses to continuously fumigate premises and workplaces for the safety of workers and patrons.
Readiness and response to COVID-19 in schools
We note the announcement that the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education with technical support from the Ministry and Health and Child Care is organising logistics for implementing measures to minimise the recurrence of the John Tallach School experience (where over 100 students tested positive for COVID-19) in other boarding schools.”
Whilst we commend the rolling out of measures to review the maximum carrying capacity of all boarding hostels, and the conduction of detailed inspection of boarding facilities and the targeted training of hostel matrons, boarding masters as well as kitchen staff to address hygiene and COVID-19 measures in schools.
- We continue to ask why where schooling communities put in this position in the first place? Why were such measures not adequately addressed in the run-up to the opening of schools wherein we, teachers and the public had continuously raised the issues pertaining to adequate readiness of schools including specifically access to water and sanitation services?
We call the Parliament of Zimbabwe to call government to order and to demand accountability from the Executive on the matter in the fullest.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe