264 days of the COVID Lockdown, and as at 17 December 2020, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases increased to 11 866, after 117 new cases were reported, all local cases. Active cases went down to 1 716 after 134 new recoveries. The total number of recoveries now stands at 9 836. The death toll goes up to 314, following 1 new death.
We note with concern how all provinces, except Mashonaland West recorded COVID-19 cases on the 17th on December. We accordingly further note with concern Harare province on the 17th of December recorded the highest number of new cases at 28 cases. We note incidentally, that on the 16th of December, with 227 new cases – the highest daily case count – Mashonaland West recorded the highest new case count at 101 cases. We remain vigilant at the pandemic in Zimbabwe and the second wave we are presently facing.
We call for an avoidance of super spreader events such as social and economic activities and gatherings.
We call for the highest levels for personal responsibility by sanitization, wearing of masks and maintaining social distancing. We recognise the launch of the 2020 Festive Season COVID-19 Awareness Campaign to ensure that the nation collectively celebrates the festive holidays responsibly with a view to save lives.
We highlight reiterated measures including;
- Parties are banned, regardless of the numbers of guests.
- Wedding with a maximum of 100 guests.
- Only ZUPCO the national passenger company is permitted to ferry passengers.
- Increased police presence and VID presence on the road with 24hour roadblocks to inspect those on the roads.
Critical Emerging Issues
Ban of social gatherings during Christmas
We note emphasis on the ban of social gatherings such as parties, all night prayers and beerhall operations during Christmas. While this, understandably, has been prompted by the need to minimize potential spread of COVID-19, we are particularly concerned by the conduct of some leadership and Government Officials who do not seem to be bothered by the need to comply with the Regulations. This careless behaviour by officials who continue to throw lavish parties and gatherings and attend without any masks, does not send out the correct COVID-19 message to the general public. In addition, the selective application of the law on citizens leaves a lot to be desired and hence leading to defiance by the general public.
- We therefore urge the leadership and Government senior officials to walk the talk on COVID-19 prevention by ensuring that they comply with the laws.
- We urge law enforcement agents to ensure strict enforcement of the lockdown on all citizens, regardless of position, status, influence and standing of any persons.
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.
- 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