178 days of COVID-19 lockdown in Zimbabwe, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, as at 23 September 2020, the total number of COVID-19 cases increased to 7 725 after 14 new local cases reported. Active cases are down to 1 491, following the record of 5 new cases and 31 recoveries. The total number of recoveries stands at 6 007. The death toll is up by 1 death to 227.
Recognising and appreciating efforts made to ensure progress with facilitating the return of nursing teams in health centres, we continue to call for sustainable support and transformative mutual dialogue in the health sector to ensure that the fragile health sector is protected, promoted and saves lives.
Critical Emerging Issues
Resumption of school lessons
As we note various grievances and dissenting voices within the educator sector, particularly regarding the resumption of operations, we continue to highlight the need to engage in progressive dialogue. In addition, noting that
- We continue to emphasise on the need to prioritise the safety of learners together with their teachers and supporting staff. We remain on standby to hear the measures to test all students and teachers prior to the resumption of schools.
- We recommend development of specific comprehensive strategies for ensuring that pupils with disabilities attend school without increased exposure to COVID-19.
- We urge that preventative measures for vulnerable pupils in preparedness for the resumption of schools, be clear, transparent and tangible.
Report on the nation’s testing capacity
We continue to raise distress over the status of testing capacity in Zimbabwe, especially in light of the current relaxation of restriction measures, and also the communities’ complacent and negligent behaviours which disregard the COVID-19 public health guidelines.
We note the reduced number of COVID-19 tests being conducted, as shown by the Ministry of Health and Child Care statistics. Noting further with concern reports from our networks that persistently raise issues pertaining to details in obtaining results of COVID-19 tests.
- We therefore call upon the Government to provide a clear plan of action to maintaining vigilance on COVID-19 on testing tracing and treatment for the current period to Mid-year 2021.
Community transmission: workplaces and public spots
Our networks report increased economic and social activities within communities and businesses. The reports also reveal nonadherence to safety measures such as physical distancing, sanitization of workplaces and regular temperature checks. We worry that such conduct may lead the nation into another spike of COVID-19 cases.
- We urge citizens to observe physical distancing as they meet and interact in public places such as banking halls.
- We urge businesses to continuously fumigate premises and workplaces for the safety of workers and patrons.
- We continue to call for the strict implementation of public health safety protocols in the public transport system.