263 days of the COVID Lockdown, and as at 16 December 2020, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases increased to 11 749, after 227 new cases were reported, all local cases. Active cases therefore went up to 1 734. The total number of recoveries stands at 9 702, following 103 new recoveries. The death toll now stands at 313, following 3 new deaths.
The 227 new cases represent the highest daily new case count reported since the start of the epidemic and occurs well within the second wave of the pandemic. The new case count, which continues to rise, together with the rise in new deaths is indicative of the need to take bold steps in ensuring we stem the spread of the disease. The enforcement of COVID-19 regulations around the country on mandatory mask wearing are simply not being enforced enough. The measures against large crowds in various social and economic activities are also being inadequately enforced. The weak enforcement of anti-COVID measures combined with COVID-19 fatigue in communities, does not indicate a positive picture for the health sector which continues to be characterised by numerous fragilities and is unable to meet the needs of the public at large.
The rainy season represents a period of broad based agricultural activities which are indeed the bedrock of both social and economic actions of communities and the country. However a balanced approach to managing COVID-19 restrictions and combating the spread of the disease is necessary in order to avert both social and economic costs that can be raised by a health pandemic. We accordingly call for a re-think on actions to stem the tide of the disease.
Critical Emerging Issue
Unauthorised laboratories carrying out COVID-19 tests
Today the Ministry of Health and Child Care raised concern over mushrooming Laboratories carrying out COVID-19 tests without prior assessment and certification by the Ministry of Health and Child Care. The Ministry has also warned the general public that any test results obtained from such laboratories shall be regarded as invalid.
- We emphasise that the general public may not have a way of confirming whether or not a laboratory has been duly assessed and authorised to conduct tests. Under the circumstances, we therefore urge the Ministry of Health and Child Care to publish and circulate the list of Laboratories which are duly certified to carry out tests.
- We further urge Government to review the exorbitant COVID-19 tests to increase affordability levels for citizens, thereby minimizing incidents where persons may resort to use of fake COVID-19 tests.
Safeguarding women’s and girls’ rights in the time of COVID-19
As COVID-19 cases continue to increase, and the State strengthens its response mechanisms, we continue to bring to the fore, the need to safeguard women’s and girls’ rights. This is anchored on adequate representation of women in decision-making position within the COVID-19 response structures.
We emphasize that women’s solutions should be informed by women’s experiences and lived realities. We therefore highlight the 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.
- 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.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe