The Zimbabwean government has been taken to court over its failure to provide doctors working on the frontline of the Covid-19 pandemic with masks.

The Zimbabwe Association for Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) is seeking to compel the authorities urgently to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) for medical practitioners, warning that medics in the country’s troubled health sector will otherwise die.

“There are simply no adequate PPEs for health personnel working at public and private health facilities in the country. We attest to the shortages because we work there,” read the court application, seen by the Guardian.

“If no urgent steps are taken to address the shortcomings, the country will be caught unprepared to handle a possible escalation of the Covid-19 pandemic and many lives will be lost, sadly including the lives of those at the frontline.”