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Zimbabwe Key Message Update: Reinstated strict COVID-19 measures limit food and income access mostly for poor urban households, July 2020

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• Due to the reinstated strict COVID-19 measures, household income and access to food mainly among low-income urban households are again limited with Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food security outcomes expected in urban areas through September. Most deficit-producing areas across the country are expected to continue experiencing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) with some worst affected households in these areas likely to be in Emergency (IPC Phase 4). Most surplus-producing areas will experience Minimal (IPC Phase 1) through September as poor households consume own-produced foods. However, as own-produced stocks are depleted in these areas, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are expected to emerge.

• Associated with the significant increase in COVID-19 cases in July, the government announced strict COVID-19 measures on July 21. Now, movement is mainly restricted except for essential services. In the informal sector only registered small and medium businesses can operate as well as food markets. This has reversed improvements in income, especially for low income urban households, that was observed following the progressive relaxation of COVID-19 measures in May/June.

• The volatile macro economy continues to drive high prices on the market. The official annual inflation rate in June was reported at 737 percent. Despite continued volatility in the market, the depreciation of the local currency on the parallel market has relatively stabilized. However, the parallel market exchange rate remains at least 20 percent above the official exchange rate, continuing to influence pricing on the markets. Maize grain and maize meal remain largely unavailable on most markets, especially in deficit-producing southern, western, and extreme northern areas.

• Livelihoods and household income across most parts of the country continue to be restricted. Crop sales in surplus producing areas are somewhat limited and largely unavailable elsewhere. Labor opportunities are generally below average following the poor harvest and prevailing macroeconomic challenges. Incomes from livestock sales remain poor due to low demand as well as poor livestock conditions in traditional low rainfall areas where water and pasture conditions are quickly deteriorating.