Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe Situation Report, 4 Jun 2020

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HIGHLIGHTS

  • With the first imported COVID-19 case reported on 20 March 2020, as of 4 June, 232 COVID-19 cases and 4 deaths have been confirmed with the majority of new cases being returnees.
  • From 1 April to 2 June, 6,670 Zimbabwean migrants returned from neighbouring countries, inclluding over 900 returnees during the last week.
  • Malaria and typhoid outbreaks continue to add a burden to a fragile health system, with 306,365 malaria cases and 279 deaths reported countrywide, and 620 typhoid cases in Harare.
  • A decrease of admission of children for acute malnutrition treatment has been recorded since April, with 50 per cent less children receiving vitamin A supplementation.

Situation Overview

The United Nations and humanitarian partners have revised the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) to include response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The COVID-19 Addendum requires US$84.9 million to respond to the immediate public health crisis and the secondary impacts of the pandemic on vulnerable people, in addition to the $715 million required in the HRP.

The 2020 Zimbabwe Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP), launched on 2 April 2020, indicates that 7 million people in urban and rural areas are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance across Zimbabwe, compared to 5.5 million in August 2019. Since the launch of the Revised Humanitarian Appeal in August 2019, circumstances for millions of Zimbabweans have worsened. Drought and crop failure, exacerbated by macro-economic challenges and austerity measures, have directly affected vulnerable households in both rural and urban communities. Inflation continues to erode purchasing power and affordability of food and other essential goods is a daily challenge. The delivery of health care, clean water and sanitation, and education has been constrained and millions of people are facing challenges to access vital services.

There are more than 4.3 million people severely food insecure in rural areas in Zimbabwe, according to the latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis, undertaken in February 2020. In addition, 2.2. million people in urban areas, are "cereal food insecure", according to the most recent Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVAC) analysis. Erratic and late 2019/2020 rains have impacted the 2020 maize crop, and crop assessment indicates yields and production significantly down. The food gap (import requirement) for a second year running will be close to 1 million tons. Nutritional needs remain high with over 1.1 million children and women requiring nutrition assistance. Already WFP is anticipating greater need for the 2020/2021 lean season and is programming for 4.5 million and 550,000 people in rural and urban communities respectively requiring food assistance support.

At least 4 million vulnerable Zimbabweans are facing challenges accessing primary health care and drought conditions trigger several health risks. Decreasing availability of safe water, sanitation and hygiene have heightened the risk of communicable disease outbreaks for 3.7 million vulnerable people. Some 1.2 million school-age children are facing challenges accessing education. The drought and economic situation have heightened protection risks, particularly for women and children. Over a year after Cyclone Idai hit Zimbabwe in March 2019, 128,270 people remain in need of humanitarian assistance across the 12 affected districts in Manicaland and Masvingo provinces. There are 21,328 refugees and asylum seekers in Zimbabwe who need international protection and multisectoral life-saving assistance to enable them to live in safety and dignity.

As of 4 June, the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) in Zimbabwe had reported 232 confirmed COVID-19 cases including four deaths, with cases reported in ten provinces. There was a significant increase of cases since 27 May, with 100 new confirmed cases and two more provinces affected: Manicaland and Mashonaland Central. With the first cases reported in Zimbabwe as of 20 March, and the recent increase of COVID-19 transmission in the region, the Government of Zimbabwe is strengthening and accelerating preparedness and response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Following the declaration of COVID-19 as a national disaster on 19 March 2020, the Zimbabwe National Preparedness and Response Plan for COVID-19 was launched with an initial eight pillars of coordination, the creation of a national COVID-19 Response Task Force and the formation of the Inter Ministerial Committee as well as several sub-committees. A high level forum consisting of Task Force and the international community is meeting fortnightly to review progress in tackling COVID-19.

The Government of Zimbabwe declared a 21-day nationwide lockdown starting on 30 March 2020 ensuring the continuity of essential services. Following an initial extension of two weeks until 3 May, the Government announced the easing of lockdown regulations on 1 May allowing formal industry and commerce to resume operations, with specified measures in effect until 17 May, including mandatory testing and screening of employees whose companies were re-opening or those employees returning back to work for the first time since the initial lockdown. The informal sector as well as other sectors, including education, however remained closed. The lockdown was now been extended indefinitely with a review every two weeks. Returning residents and foreign nationals are required to quarantine for a period of 21 days, of which the initial 7 days at Government designated quarantine centers, with mandatory testing on day one and day eight.

As of 2 June, a total of 6,670 migrants had returned to Zimbabwe from neighbouring countries through nine points of entry since COVID-19 restrictive measures were imposed, with 932 returnees reported during the last week since 25 May. The large majority of returnees entered through the points of entry of Beitbridge (3,463) and Plumtree (1,641) and Forbes (646). The number continues to increase daily, with a projection of 20,000 new arrivals in the next coming months. After arrival at the border post, returnees are transferred to provincial quarantine facilities nearest to their places of destination, most of which do not have adequate facilities to host returnees. A total of 2,979 returnees were quarantined as of 25 May in 60 centres in 10 provinces, with majority in Harare (748), Manicaland (451), Masvingo (425) and Bulawayo (345).

An unexpected decrease of admission of children for treatment of acute malnutrition has been recorded, with 1,180 admissions in April compared to 1,842 in March, which can be explained by the disruption in services due to the COVID-19 crisis. Since the beginning of May, 187,242 children were screened for acute malnutrition both at community and facility level in the 25 priority districts. Of those screened, 306 were admitted for treatment of MAM and 214 were admitted for treatment of SAM. In addition, 50 per cent less children received vitamin A micronutrient supplementation in the month of April (52,379) compared to the preceding months (107,491 in March, 100,120 in February and 102,273 in January).

The country has been facing a malaria outbreak since the beginning of March that is creating an additional burden to an already fragile health system. From 1 January to 17 May 2020, 306,365 malaria cases and 279 deaths have been reported. From 11 to 17 May, a total of 17,294 malaria cases and 14 deaths were reported, with the highest number of cases being recorded in Mashonaland Central and Mashonaland East provinces.

In addition to the commitments to the HRP recorded above through the Financial Tracking System (FTS), a number of pledges are in the process of being finalized, including $30 million for the HRP and $11 million for the COVID-19 response from UK Aid, $13 million from the European Commission, and $200,000 from Canada. In addition, carryover funding of agencies from 2019 will be reflected in FTS.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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