273 days of the COVID Lockdown, and as of 27 December 2020, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases increased to 13 077, after 114 new cases were reported, all local cases. Active cases therefore went up to 2 135. The total number of recoveries stands at 10 593, following 74 new recoveries. The death toll now stands at 349, after 8 new deaths were recorded.
Critical Emerging Issues
Poor adherence to COVID-19 by public transport operators
We continue to bring under the spotlight the public transport operators, engaging in both long and short distance journeys. We are deeply concerned by the complete relaxation of COVID-19 measures on the buses, particularly in this operating environment where there is an increase in travellers, travelling from one area to another for the festive holidays amidst increased cases of COVID-19 in Zimbabwe and low testing rates. We note with concern reports from travellers indicating the high level of inconsistencies in ensuring sanitisation on the buses. Further, whilst we note that there is high adherence in requesting passengers to produce masks before boarding, our monitoring reveals non-use of the masks by passengers aboard. Further, there are clear inconsistencies in providing sanitisers prior to the boarding of buses and even usage of sanitisers during journies that often are over 3-hours long.
- 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.
- We further urge mass community testing to ensure early detection and containment of the pandemic.
Handling of returnees utilising illegal entry points
While appreciating concerted efforts being made to limit the potential risk of spreading COVID-19 by some returnees who are attempting to gain entry without being tested or subjected to quarantine, we, however, raise concern over the manner in which some of the returnees are allegedly being handled, e.g being huddled together without physical distancing or sanitization as they await being sent to quarantine centres. We highlight that this practice may increase the risk of infection amongst returnees before they are even committed to quarantine.
- We, therefore, urge health authorities to ensure prioritisation of safety of all returnees by ensuring that the handling of returnees is conducted in a safe and expedient manner, without opening them up to a potential risk of exposure to COVID-19.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe