COVID-19: Doctors sue Zimbabwe gov't for no safety gear

Country has 11 coronavirus cases, 3 deaths so far

COVID-19: Doctors sue Zimbabwe gov't for no safety gear


Doctors in Zimbabwe have taken the government to court over its failure to provide them protective gear during the coronavirus pandemic, local media reported Friday.

The case was filed by the Zimbabwe Association for Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) and cites the country’s health, finance, and transport ministers as respondents, according to local website Pindula.

The association has demanded that the government must urgently provide personal protective equipment (PPE) for all medical practitioners in Zimbabwe.

A lawyer representing ZADHR said the government has taken no positive steps to avoid a full-scale breakout in the country, which has 11 confirmed COVID-19 cases and three deaths so far.

He said the doctors want an assurance from the state that it is taking positive measures for their protection and to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Zimbabwe.

International organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) has also urged Zimbabwe’s government to protect its health workers and citizens.

"The Zimbabwe authorities need not wait for a court to order them to ensure the protection of health workers … Doctors and nurses working on the front line to contain the spread of the coronavirus need to be properly equipped," HRW said in a statement on Thursday.

"If health workers are unable to work, the government’s efforts to combat the COVID-19 will be severely undermined, with devastating consequences for people’s access to health care."

Last week, Zimbabwean doctors and nurses rejected the government’s proposal to pay them an extra $37 in risk allowance as "a slap in the face".

Since appearing in China last December, the novel coronavirus has spread to at least 185 countries and regions, with Europe and the U.S. now the worst-affected areas in the world.

More than 1.65 million cases have been reported worldwide, with the death toll over 100,000, and recoveries at almost 369,000, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University in the U.S.

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