Officers from the Zimbabwe Republic Police arrested nurses and general workers at Victoria Chitepo Hospital in Mutare (Manicaland province) during a protest on Friday, June 19. The demonstrations were linked to an ongoing nationwide strike by health workers over a pay dispute in the midst of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. The nurses were held at Mutare Central Police Station before being released without charges. Similar protests have reportedly been witnessed at hospitals and health centers across the country in recent days.
Further unrest associated with the strike is possible in Mutare and across Zimbabwe over the coming days and weeks.
Many health workers across Zimbabwe have heeded calls for a strike over salaries and working conditions. The strike began on Wednesday, June 17, when nurses at Parirenyatwa Hospital in Harare walked out over demands of being paid in US dollars (USD) due to the collapse of the Zimbabwe dollar. Doctors and nurses from hospitals across Zimbabwe joined the strike and have held associated protests on Thursday, June 18, and Friday, June 19. The government offered health workers a 50 percent pay increase and a 75USD monthly allowance, but this has been rejected by unions.
Individuals in Zimbabwe are advised to confirm doctor's appointments, anticipate longer waiting times in medical facilities for the duration of the strike, and avoid any protests as a precaution.
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