COVID-19 national lockdown critically affects livelihoods and sharply increases food needs
• The COVID-19 pandemic severely threatens an already critical food security situation arising mainly from the prevailing poor macroeconomic conditions and consecutive years of drought. The movement restrictions associated with COVID-19 have significantly impacted businesses and urban and rural livelihoods, further limiting household incomes. This has led to a higher than previously anticipated food insecure population, especially in urban centers. Humanitarian food assistance currently is preventing more severe food security outcomes with Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes present across most of the country. However, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are present elsewhere in the country.
• The government declared an extension of the initial 21-day national lockdown, which started on March 30, by two weeks through May 3. This lockdown is in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and aims to limit the spread of the disease. As a result of the lockdown, the movement of people and goods has been restricted. Most livelihood activities in urban and rural areas, both formal and informal, have been severely affected.
• Following the harvests in May, short-lived improvements to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are expected in surplusproducing areas; however, in deficit-producing areas, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected to persist, driven by the poor harvest, continued macroeconomic challenges, and the impacts of COVID-19. It is expected that some worst-affected households are likely to be in Emergency (IPC Phase 4).
• The government in early April issued a new policy to allow the use of the US Dollar for local transactions again alongside the local currency. Following this, the Zimbabwean Dollar (ZWL) continued to devalue, depreciating by about 20 percent in April. Consequently, prices of most goods and services continued to increase in ZWL terms during the month. The national lockdownrelated panic buying has also led to increased commodity shortages and prices in the country.