Zimbabwe Lockdown: Day 295 – WCoZ Situation Report

295 days of the COVID Lockdown, and as at 17 January 2020, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases increased to 27 203, after 322 new cases were reported, of which 321 are local cases and 1 is a returnee from Botswana. Active cases have gone down to 9 978 after 640 new recoveries were recorded. The total number of recoveries now stands at 16 512. The recovery rate has therefore gone up to at 60.7%. The death toll now stands at 713, after 30 new deaths were recorded. 

The 13th day of the 2nd hard lockdown and we are already witnessing communities exhibiting reckless behaviour in defiance of the lockdown and public health guidelines in residential areas such as Chinhoyi, Kwekwe and Gweru. We urge enforcement authorities to ensure strict compliance with the lockdown in residential areas in order to minimize risk of spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Critical Emerging Issues

Social protection during lockdown

We continue to raise the urgent need for Government to ensure that the lockdown is supported with the prioritisation of livelihood support in communities. We highlight that the lockdown can only be successful if citizens do not need to place themselves in danger as they seek to secure food, water and livelihood support. We underscore the fact that the inability of households to respect the lockdown is directly correlated to other persisting deprivation and insecurities they face on a day-to-day basis. The pandemic will continue to bedevil the nation especially, if the measures to increase access to social-economic goods and services, as part of strong social protection systems, are not implemented by Government 

  • We therefore recommend that Government announces the direct distribution of basic commodities and food in communities similar to the subsidized mealie meal distribution program. 
  • We call for the expansion of the cash transfer support to vulnerable households and the direct increase of the amounts to support vulnerable households.
  • We call for the provision of support for households who are no longer able to sustain themselves due to loss of livelihoods, especially women-led households.

Outstanding issues

Testing Capacity 

We commend the Ministry of Health and Child Care on advising the Nation on the current COVID-19 status in the country particularly on vaccines and Zimbabwe’s current testing capacity. It highlighted that currently that Zimbabwe has the capacity to test at least 6 000 people per day. 

  • We urge Government to clarify whether this testing capacity is in respect of public health institutions or is largely influenced by the Private Sector which currently is charging exorbitant prices for the PCR tests. 
  • We note the careful language of the statement and call for clarification of whether the testing capacity of 6000 is an actual reflection of the number of test kits actually available on the ground.
  • We continue to reiterate the need to enhance the testing strategy by embarking on community mass-testing in order to determine the accurate prevalence of the pandemic in Zimbabwe, and effective infection control.

Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe

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