261 days of the COVID Lockdown, and as at 15 December 2020, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases increased to 11 522, after 164 new cases were reported, all local cases. Active cases therefore went up to 1 613. The total number of recoveries now stands at 9 599, following 45 new recoveries. The death toll now stands at 310.
We note the latest WHO guidelines on COVID-19 emphasizing the use of masks, coughing etiquette, physical distancing and sanitization for minimizing risk of spread of COVID-19. We call for widespread dissemination and adoption of the same.
Critical Emerging Issue
Increased social activities and non-compliance with COVID-19 prevention measures
While commending Cabinet on announcing moves for strengthening efforts to ensure adherence to COVID-19 prevention measures in the public transport sector, we raise concern over the increasing number of unauthorised public transport vehicles, which are illegally operating, without observing health safety protocols such as physical distancing, and sanitization. This raises concern especially in a context in which COVID-19 is quickly gaining ground in local communities. We therefore raise distress over the public transport sector becoming a potential super-spreader for COVID-19.
- We urge citizens to observe public health guidelines as they meet and interact in public places such as market places, supermarkets, water points, restaurants, drinking spots and beerhalls.
- We continue to call for the strict implementation of public health safety protocols in the public transport system.
- We urge businesses to continuously fumigate premises and workplaces for the safety of workers and patrons.
Community mass testing
While noting the rising statistics of active cases, particularly local transmissions, we recognize the need for an advanced testing strategy which ensures community mass testing and contact tracing, particularly as we approach the holidays where there is likely to be an increase in inter-city, urban-rural 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 that attention 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.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe