Zimbabwe Lockdown: Day 260 – WCoZ Situation Report

260 days of the COVID Lockdown , and as of 13 December 2020, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases increased to 11 242, after 27 new cases were reported. All 27 cases are local. The total number of recoveries went up to 9 451 following 92 new recoveries. Active cases went down to 1 488. The death toll remains at 307.

We note an increase in recoveries which is critical as we continue to endure the second wave of the pandemic. We further note with concern the high cases in Bulawayo and Harare metropolitan provinces particularly and call for vigilance in the two metropolitan provinces to avoid a crisis in hospitals and to save lives.

We highlight, one more report indicating that schools are requesting parents and students alike to provide money to assist schools in plugging the gap in regards to securing COVID-19 PPE supplies. We remain concerned that whilst the Government directive to schools on this matter indicates that such actions are in contrast to government policy, the failure of central government to provide the critical PPE’s, despite the much-touted disbursement by Treasure of ZWL350 million to secure such supplies, is not tangible on the ground.

The reality is that families, which are already under significant socio–economic strain are having to foot the bill, of costs that government ought to cover. 

We remain concerned that communities are not in full receipt of the critical support and once again have to subsidise government on a policy that government should have well-resourced and well administered to avoid undue burden on communities. 

Critical Emerging Issues

Community mass testing

While noting the rising statistics of active cases, particularly local transmissions, we recognize the need for an advanced testing strategy that ensures community mass testing and contact tracing, particularly as we approach the holidays where there is likely to be an increase in inter-city and cross border travelling. We submit that in the absence of mass community testing and public accounting for local transmission case-tracing, it will be impossible to determine the appropriate reflection of the COVID-19 pandemic prevalence in Zimbabwe, and adequate response.

  • We therefore reiterate our recommendation on equal attention to be directed towards mass community testing.
  • We further recommend that the Government provide a clear plan of action to maintaining vigilance on COVID-19 on surveillance, tracing and treatment for the imminent festive season up to 2021.
  • We further reinforce our call for an advanced testing strategy in the Public sector and urge Government to update the Nation on the progress of testing of all members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police, and all lockdown enforcement officers.

Outstanding issue

COVID-19 certificates at entry points 

Reports of fake COVID-19 certificates at entry points continue to pour in, while COVID-19 cases remain on the increase from both local and imported transmissions. Concerns have also been raised over the exorbitant fees currently being charged for conducting a PCR test by private health institutions is priced beyond the reach of many. 

Approved and reputable centres are charging between US$50 and US$85 for the test, therefore prompting travellers to resort to unauthorised illegal channels for obtaining COVID-19 certificates. 

These challenges, if not urgently responded to, will pose difficulties in early detection and surveillance, thus leading to a growing spike of COVID-19 cases, particularly so as we approach the festive season, where we are likely to experience heavy traffic of travellers streaming in and out of Zimbabwe.

  • We therefore urge the Ministry of Health and Child-Care to implement comprehensive strategies in ensuring that Government testing services are easily accessible to the general public at reasonable and affordable costs 

Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe

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