Zimbabwe: Number of COVID-19 Tested Cases Too Small - Human Rights Commission

1 April 2020

The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) has expressed concern over the number of suspected Covi-19 cases that have been tested as of March 30.

In a statement the Commission says the number may be 'too small' considering the number of people who arrived in the country since the Corona it's outbreak.

"According to the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation Television (ZBC TV) updates only 194 suspected cases had been tested by 30 March 2020. This number is too small given that there are thousands of people who arrived into the country since the outbreak, some of them from high risk countries and regions. This means that our national statistics may not be very accurate," read the statement

Decentralisation of the testing facilities, the Commission said was another area of concern as there was slow movement.

"There is concern on the slow pace of decentralisation of testing facilities to all provinces. By now provinces should have been sharing daily updates of their tested cases and the respective results so that the nation has a holistic picture of the situation."

ZHRC said fake products had also flooded the market thereby risking the lives of citizens.

"The market is getting flooded with "new" products that are surfacing including sanitisers, disinfectants and masks. The risk of fake and ineffective products on the market is very high thereby exposing unsuspecting members of the public to dangers of infections. All supplies must be tested by experts and only certified products should be allowed on the market," noted ZHRC

The Commission said whilst there was an improvement on the electricity situation there was need to improve the water situation as it was dire.

"While electricity supply has stabilised in most areas the water situation is still dire. Urgent short to medium term solutions must be put in place to ensure enjoyment of the right to clean, safe and potable water. There is also need to minimise congestion at communal water points since non-observance of social distancing can lead to the rapid spread of the Corona virus.

The Commission added "Members of the public should have access to contact details of local COVID-19 response centres including health facilities for easier access to information and health services as well as for purposes of coordination during this crisis period.

"In crisis situations like what is currently obtaining, there is need to observe principles of equality and non-discrimination since specific vulnerable groups need extra care and support. The Department of Social Services should be resourced to ensure that such vulnerable households, institutions, and even communities receive critical relief assistance. This is particularly urgent since a lot of livelihood activities have been disrupted by the pandemic"

ZHRC said law enforcement agents should be guided by the human rights based approach in performing their duties, responsibilities and encouraged peaceful maintenance of law and order.

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