COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak, which started in China in December 2019 has now been declared a global pandemic. As at 26 March 2020, there were a total of 465,915 confirmed cases, 21,031 confirmed deaths with 200 countries, areas or territories with cases. The pandemic has weighed on global economic performance, with varied in-country socio-economic impacts.
Zimbabwe has not been spared by the COVID-19 pandemic. As at 27 March 2020, the Ministry of Health and Child Care announced that out of the 188 tests conducted, 7 cases were COVID-19 positive, 181 cases were negative, and one death recorded.
Governments across the world are putting in place COVID-19 response mechanisms. In the case of Zimbabwe, COVID-19 response measures by the 23rd of March 2020 included:
- Boarder control – banning of all non-essential travel (excluding returning residents) and traffic, both inbound and outbound, except for movement of cargo;
- Ban on entertainment and recreational activities such as nightclubs, bars, beerhalls, movie houses, swimming pools, gymnasium and sporting activities;
- Public gathering – which should not exceed 50 people in the following: religious fellowships, weddings, conferences, workshops and funerals; and,
- Restricted hospital visits which have been reduced to one visit per day involving relative per patient.
In addition to the above, the Government, through advice from the Tripartite Negotiating Forum(TNF) declared the pandemic a national disaster. On the 24th of March 2020, the Government received a COVID-19 donation windfall from Jack Ma and Alibaba Foundations namely: 20,000 laboratory diagnostics test kits, 100, 000 medical face masks, and 1,000 protective suits and face shield.
Subsequent to this, the Government announced additional measures namely: