Covid-19 stalls issuing of birth certificates in Zim

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Zimbabwe’s births and deaths registry has not issued out birth certificates for children born after March 30 this year when the government imposed a lockdown on various activities to curb the spread of COVID-19.

On average, Zimbabwe records just over 400,000 births annually.

Only burial orders are being processed under the decongestion program, the government-controlled Herald newspaper reported Monday.

The law stipulates that a child must be registered within 42 days of birth, but the Registrar-General’s Office has told parents not to worry as every unregistered birth would be tracked as soon as the circumstances allowed.

Acting Registrar-General Henry Machiri said no penalties would be levied for late registration since the prevailing law had been overtaken by COVID-19 prevention regulations passed by the government.

Although he could not provide numbers to give a full picture of the backlog, the department acknowledged the ballooning gap.

“These restrictions have created a backlog. All children born before the period will be registered after the containment measures have been lifted.

“Once the restrictions are lifted, the department will put in place measures to ensure that all births that occurred during the lockdown and all unregistered births born before the period are registered,” he said.

The department says it intends to put its decentralised structure to good use when the issuing of documents resumes.

As of Aug. 30, Zimbabwe had confirmed 6,412 COVID-19 cases and 196 related deaths.