Zimbabwe Situation Report, 7 May 2020


  • The first imported COVID-19 case was reported on 21 March 2020 and local transmission started on 24 March. As of 5 May, 34 COVID-19 cases were confirmed, including four deaths.
  • A malaria outbreak, with over 226 deaths reported since 1 January 2020 throughout the country, creates an additional burden to an already fragile health system.
  • Over 2 million people received food or cash assistance in April. Distributions were delayed due to the implementation of COVID-19 protection measures.
  • The number of children treated for acute malnutrition reduced from 1,989 in January to 1,852 in February and 1,708 in March in the entire country.
  • The national GBV Hotline recorded 1,273 GBV calls since the beginning of the lockdown on 30 March with an overall increase of over 100 per cent compared to pre-lockdown trends.


Situation Overview

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 healthcare, 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 forebode the possibility of a second poor harvest. Nutritional needs remain high with over 1.1 million children and women requiring nutrition assistance. At least 4 million vulnerable Zimbabweans are facing challenges accessing primary healthcare 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 heighted protection risks, particularly for women and children. A year after Cyclone Idai hit Zimbabwe, 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 5 May, the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) in Zimbabwe had reported 34 confirmed COVID-19 cases including four deaths, with cases reported in five provinces including 13 cases in Harare and 12 cases in Bulawayo, and a total of 11,647 screenings and diagnostic tests done. With the first cases reported in Zimbabwe as of 21 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. The Government of Zimbabwe declared a 21-day nationwide lockdown starting on 30 March 2020 ensuring the continuity of essential services. This was reviewed and extended by two weeks until 3 May. On 1 May, the Government announced the easing of lockdown regulations which allowed formal industry and commerce to resume operations, having met the specified regulations including mandatory testing and screening of employees. These measures will be in effect until 17 May.

The country is currently facing a malaria outbreak that is creating an additional burden to an already fragile health system. From 1 January to 26 April 2020, more than 236,365 malaria cases and 226 deaths have been reported. During the week from 20 to 26 April, a total of 33,171 malaria cases and 21 deaths were reported representing a 220 per cent increase in cases compared to similar period in 2019. The number of health facilities reporting malaria outbreaks remain on the rise, with highly affected provinces being Manicaland, Mashonaland East and Mashonaland Central.

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 realized. This includes $13 million from the European Commission for which a call for proposals has been launched, $44 million COVID-19 funding announced by the UK Ambassador, and a further $20 million CERF allocation to WFP for Social Protection programming. The Government of Japan also announced the commitment of $15.3 million in emergency funding including $14.8 million to WFP, $455,000 to UNICEF and $96,000 to IOM.

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