257 days of the COVID Lockdown, and as at 11 December 2020, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases increased to 11 162, after 81 new cases were reported, all local cases. Active cases went down up to 1 532, following 64 recoveries. The total number of recoveries went up to 9 324. The death toll now stands at 306, following 1 reported death.
Critical Emerging Issues
Poor adherence to COVID-19 by public transport operators
We continue to bring under spotlight the public transport operators, engaging in both long and short distance. We are deeply concerned by the complete relaxation of COVID-19 measures on the buses, particularly in this fast-approaching festive season where we are likely to experience an increase in travellers travelling from one area to another for the Christmas holidays. This is especially worrying in the context of the increased cases of COVID-19 in Zimbabwe and concerned with the low testing rates.
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 journeys that often are over 3 hours.
- 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.
Second wave of COVID-19 across our borders
We note the dramatic increase of COVID-19 cases and deaths in our neighbouring country, South Africa, which has prompted the health officials to declare a second wave of the pandemic. This is particularly concerning for Zimbabwe, especially in the context where land borders have been opened.
- We therefore urge the Border Surveillance authorities in Zimbabwe to be vigilant and responsive at points of entry to manage and minimize risk of imported cases.
- We urge travellers to observe COVID-19 regulations and safety protocols by ensuring that they get tested for COVID-19 and produce the requisite legal valid COVID-19 test certificates at entry points.
- We further urge travellers, who may feel they have been exposed to COVID-19 in the course of their travel to the border or at the border, to raise their concerns at COVID-19 surveillance points to facilitate contact tracing and testing.
- We urge COVID-19 Surveillance Officers at points of entry to dispense their duties in a manner that is responsive to the inalienable human rights for COVID-19 patients .
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe