Zimbabwe Lockdown: Day 250 – WCoZ Situation Report

250 days of the COVID Lockdown , and as of 3 December 2020, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases increased to 10 424, after 181 new cases were reported, of which 178 are local cases, and 3 are imported from Algeria. Active cases went up to 1 390. The total number of recoveries went up by 80 new recoveries and now stands at 8 754. The death toll has gone up to 280 following 3 new deaths recorded.

Zimbabwe COVID-19 cases are on a rapid and alarming increase. Strong action to stem the rise in cases is necessary. This is not only a matter of COVID-19 fatigue or failure to adhere to regulations but the guidelines on everyday activities need to be made stronger and made practical to realities on the ground. Enforcement needs to be made with a view to securing citizen cooperation not undue force and violence.

  • We call upon the government to engage in broader consultation on COVID-19 guidelines for the workplace and to ensure that they are inclusive in their approach as the workplace in Zimbabwe is as diverse as the income-generating lives that citizens have had to create to place food on the table.

There are no clear guidelines of standard behaviour in fast food stores, in restaurants. Nor are there guidelines for creating household “safety bubbles.” COVID-19 safety in inter-city public transport buses is not being enforced and we continue to decry the effort to restructure the entire national public transport system in the midst of a pandemic. 

We need action on the spread of COVID-19. Whilst we continue to note with relief that COVID-19 fatalities in Zimbabwe are low, we remain deeply distressed at the rise in COVID-19 cases especially as we highlight the reports that indicate persons suffering from COVID-19 continue to experiences symptoms months after their recovery in what is increasingly being referred to as “long COVID.” 

Critical Emerging Issue

Increase in COVID-19 cases in schools

We note the increase of COVID-19 cases in schools, which has forced a number of schools to shut down in a bid to contain further spread of the disease. This comes particularly at a time when numerous calls have been made for Government to shut down schools and reschedule exams for exam sitting classes. While the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, has been adamant on its position, we continue to query how schools that have been forced to shut down due to COVID-19 will cater for their pupils to ensure that they also sit for the exams. We further raise concern over the lack of adequate PPE given to teachers, pupils and ancillary staff, and therefore question Government’s progress in ensuring adequate protection measures for teachers and pupils.

  • We urge Government to act decisively with the inconsistences currently obtaining within the Education sector regarding operations of schools amidst COVID-19 outbreaks.
  • We further urge Government to implement comprehensive measures that do not disadvantage or expose school pupils to the risk of COVID-19.

Outstanding issue

Harassment of school pupils by the police

We are disturbed with the video footage currently circulating on social media platforms, of members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police harassing and unleashing physical force on pupils without face-masks at a local High School in Kwekwe. 

We condemn this unjustified act by the police which exhibits abuse of power by members of the Security Sector.  

While we emphasise the importance of ensuring use of face-masks as a means to minimize the spread of COVID-19, we also question progress by Government in supplying masks to schools, to reach the target of “3 masks per learner.”

  • We therefore continue to call upon Treasury to expedite payments for critical supplies.
  • We urge members of the Security Services to desist from taking the law into their own hands, and inflicting harassment on citizens.

Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe

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