279 days of the COVID Lockdown, and as of 1 January 2020, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases increased to 14 084, after 217 new cases were reported, 216 are local cases and 1 cases is imported. Active cases go up to 2368. The total number of recoveries stands at 11 347, following 97 new recoveries. The death toll now stands at 369, after 6 new deaths were recorded.
We highlight the continued increase in severity of COVID-19 in Zimbabwe. The present 7 day rolling day average of cases is now up to 172 cases from 154 cases. We note with growing concern over the past three days the number of cases has gone up to 759 cases representing the highest three day count in the local context thus far.
Whilst we acknowledge indeed the efforts made to review COVID-19 regulations over the festive period and also to strengthen enforcement over the same, we remain concerned at the nominal enforcement of mandatory mask wearing, physical distancing and hand sanitization in public spaces.
- We applaud the deferment of the opening of schools to a later date.
- We implore Government to support schools to strengthen water and sanitation facilities in schools in this period.
- We urge citizens to refrain from unnecessary movements.
- We implore citizens to wear their masks correctly and continuously.
Critical Emerging Issue
We highlight reports regarding the increased congestion at Beitbridge Border Post in Beitbridge Town once more. As travellers are returning to South Africa post the festive break, congestion has arisen due to increased traffic. We note the reduced border hours from 24 hours to 12 hours as the border now effectively operates from 6am to 10pm for ordinary passengers and non-essential goods. We note with concern however that the measures are causing backlogs and congestion in the border areas and in the surrounding town. In the context of the heat and long waiting hours, the strain on families, the elderly and the vulnerable.
- We urge travellers to take heed of the reduced border operating hours and consider planning their return trips accordingly.
- We call upon Border Officials to actively facilitate the expediting of travellers with young children, the elderly, and other vulnerable groups.
We further note with concern the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Beitbridge community. We highlight reports indicating Beitbridge District Hospital with two doctors, several nurses and other staffers who have tested positive for COVID-19.
- We call for increased provision of adequate PPE.
- We call for the increased provision of social support to healthcare workers who continue to provide critical services under incredibly difficult circumstances.
We further highlight the cases of COVID-19 in 18 students from Mukaro Mission in Gutu and Welton Private Primary School, who reside in Beitbridge Town.
We continue to note the risks that are faced by border officials who are contracting COVID-19 and call for strengthening of the safety protocols in the discharge of their duties in highly congested spaces.
Status of Communities Evacuated from Cyclone Charlane Areas
We note the reduction of Cyclone Charlane into a Tropical Depression.
We note with concern reports indicating the delays and distribution of food and other critical supplies in evacuation centres.
We note further reports indicating the displacement of children at slightly higher rates than of adults.
We note further reports indicating the disruption to power supplies in Manicaland affecting evacuation centres and potential delays in getting power distribution up and running in short periods of time.
We note the large-scale rainfall in Matebeleland North in particular Tsholotsho received 87 millimetres (mm) and Lupane received 68mm. We note with relief, that that there are no reports of flooding at the moment.
We note reports of rainfall for 69mm (Chivhu), 58mm (Chikomba), 54mm (Kwekwe) and 42mm (Mutare).
- We urge communities to continue to take heed of advice to monitor their homes to see if their homes or structures may be getting damage due to excessive moisture.
- To avoid travelling were possible and if travel is necessary to desist from attempting to cross fast flowing or flooded rivers and streams whether walking or driving.
- We continue to warn of the dangers of the roads which due to rainfall may be slippery, and contain hidden dangers covered by water, including fallen trees, utility poles, and live wires.
- We call upon the Government to provide all support necessary to ensure the restoration of power supplies to affected regions and to ensure evacuation centres have reliable power supplies to guard against violence against women and girls.
- We urge the Government to ensure security in the communities with evacuated citizens who are concerned about their potential loss of property due to the risks associated with evacuation
- We reiterate the need to implement comprehensive strategies to ensure that evacuated communities are safeguarded from COVID-19.
- We further urge the prioritisation of women’s rights during the evacuation period, including uninterrupted access to sexual reproductive health products.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe