Zimbabwe Lockdown: Day 251 – WCoZ Situation Report

251 days of the COVID Lockdown , and as of 4 December 2020, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases increased to 10 547, after 123 new cases were reported, of which 108 are local cases, while 15 are returnees from South Africa. Active cases went up to 1 568. The total number of recoveries went up to 8 802, following a new 48 recoveries. The death toll stands at 280.

We commend the Ministry of Health and Child Care for dispatching surveillance teams to strengthen the Provinces Surveillance teams, and management of COVID-19 outbreaks within learning institutions. We appreciate that the COVID-19 current situation requires intensified efforts in ensuring early detection of potential cases and risks, so as to minimize further spread of the disease.

We remain alarmed at the sharp increases of COVID-19 as recorded but we commend the spread of testing to reveal these statistics. 

  • We continue to call for stronger community testing in communities with schools that have been identified as having COVID-19 cases to ensure that the disease does not spread unchecked in rural communities whose access to health care services is even more fragile than that in urban communities.
  • We call for twinning of the COVID-19 awareness at Pfumvudza related cropping training and planting programs being overseen by the various actors in the agricultural sector to reduce the incidence of COVID-19 spreading in communities.

Critical Emerging Issue

Fake COVID-19 test certificates 

There is a growing concern regarding COVID-19 test results being illegally issued to travellers by unqualified and unauthorised persons at some Border entry points. The Zimbabwe Republic Police has confirmed arrests of such persons at Chirundu Border Post, who were conducting illegal COVID-19 tests to travellers. This is particularly distressing in an operating context where COVID-19 cases are on the rise, with Surveillance teams working hard to contain the situation.  

  • We urge travellers to be vigilant and desist from conduct which places not only their individual lives, but those of others too, at risk. Travellers and citizens at large, should get tested for COVID-19 at properly and legally designated points and institutions.
  • We commend and urge the enforcing agents to be on the look-out for unscrupulous individuals who partake in such risky and reckless behaviour.
  • We further urge citizens to make concerted efforts in complying with COVID-19 regulations so as to ensure low risk of exposure to the disease.

Outstanding 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 upon 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 its pupils to ensure that they also sit for the exams. We further raise concern over the lack of adequate PPE to teachers, pupils and ancillary staff, and therefore question Government’s progress in ensuring adequate protection measures for teachers and pupils.

We continue to critique the conditions of boarding schools that have been effectively reopened without adequate water and sanitation hygiene and support from the state to meaningfully curb the spread of the disease in schools.

  • 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 pupils to the risk of COVID-19.

Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe

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