Zimbabwe Lockdown: Day 255 – WCoZ Situation Report

255 days of the COVID Lockdown, and as of 8 December 2020, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases increased to 10 912, after 73 new cases were reported, all local cases. Active cases went down to 1 547, following 90 new recoveries. The total number of recoveries went up to 9 062 following new 92 recoveries. The death toll now stands at 303, following 9 newly reported deaths.

We note the announcement by Parirenyatwa hospital, which is the largest referral hospital in Zimbabwe, that it is suspending patient visits starting from today Wednesday 9 December in direct response to the surge in COVID-19 cases in Zimbabwe. We further note that the announcement makes reference to the surge of cases within the institution.

We note that the suspension of visits leaves patients with only the listed, next of kin, being permitted to deliver support from family.

We applaud the decision made as it has been necessitated by the need to protect inpatients, staff members, and visitors.

  • We continue to await the announcement of substantive measures to address the second wave of COVID-19 to ensure that we stem the tide.
  • We call on government to act swiftly to prevent mass contraction of COVID-19, protect our incredibly fragile health sector and save lives.

Critical Emerging Issue

Management of COVID-19 deaths and burials

As the COVID-19 deaths statistics have continued to rise in the past days, with Harare alone recording 9 deaths in the past 24 hours, we highlight the need to ensure proper and safe handling of burials of COVID-19 bodies. 

We highlight the WHO COVID-19 Body Management and Burial Guidelines for COVID-19 persons which seek to strive to ensure that bodies are managed in a manner that does not expose those who are the body to the potential of infection. 

The WHO COVID-19 guidelines further make specific references to cultural rites which may include and contact such as touching and kissing the body are not permitted. Noting the increasing complacency and relaxation of the general public on COVID-19 prevention:

  • We call upon the Government to strengthen awareness-raising efforts on the safety measures to be taken during burials to ensure the communities are well prepared in advance.
  • We further reiterate that the preparation of the bodies must be managed by persons who are adequately trained to handle such cases further and supported with sufficient PPE, and thus communities should exercise caution during burials.

Outstanding issues 

Safeguarding women’s and girls’ rights in the time of COVID-19

As the COVID-19 cases continue to increase, and so has been the numbers of quarantined persons, we continue to bring to the fore, the need to safeguard women’s and girls’ rights, during COVID-19. This is anchored on the adequate representation of women in decision-making positions with the COVID-19 response structures.

We emphasize that women’s solutions should be informed by women’s experiences and lived realities. 

We therefore highlight 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 structures.

Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe

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