COVID-19 exacerbates hardship in the year Zimbabweans endure trials

Tichaona Chifamba, Zhang Yuliang

Harare, December 22 (Xinhua)-Many Zimbabweans will want to hurry to forget 2020 after losing their loved ones at COVID-19. On the other hand, some companies are pandemics.

The country was in even more financial trouble as the production sector temporarily fell into a coma and had not yet recovered.

As of December 21, 12,422 people were infected and 322 died. As a direct result of COVID-19, about 150,000 formal jobs were lost during the year.

Recently, people are ignoring the COVID-19 prevention protocol, so there are more local transmissions than imported ones, and the government’s concern is enormous.

Impact of COVID-19

The first cases of COVID-19 in the country were reported on March 20, panicking the country and urging the government to impose blockade restrictions.

Even at the local level, only those who provide essential services were allowed to enter the central business district of their respective towns and cities.

According to Mthuli Ncube, Minister of Finance and Economic Development, the economy in 2020 is estimated to shrink by 4.1% due to sluggish demand due to the blockade of countries that have curtailed productivity, productivity and utilization.

Ncube said the mining, manufacturing, tourism, construction, distribution and other service sectors were affected by the negative impact of the blockade.

The informal sector, which accounts for about 90% of Zimbabwe’s workforce, was severely affected, with women suffering the most.

Foreign direct investment was also affected, and the Treasury recently revealed that it fell 31% from $ 44.5 million in the same period in 2019 to $ 30.6 million in the first 10 months of the year.

Blockade restrictions have been relaxed over time, and virtually all sectors have resumed operations.

However, despite being largely ignored, the curfew from 10 pm to 6 am still exists, limiting the number of public meetings, weddings, church services, and funerals. House parties and other social gatherings are prohibited.

Socially, the pandemic has affected many families as well, resulting in gender-based violence resulting from the proliferation of COVID-19.

According to the women’s shelter Musasa project, GBV hotlines across the country recorded 5,306 calls between the start of the blockade on March 30 and October 7, an increase of 60% compared to the pre-blockade trend. did.

Some of the issues that caused gender-based violence were related to financial issues.

School children also lost study time after the government closed them in early April and allowed them to sit on a rescheduled first public exam.

Some of the people who were sitting for official testing but tested positive for COVID-19 had to endure the stigma because they were quarantined while sitting.

The non-examination class came back later in a very short time. As a result, the school will reopen earlier than usual in the first semester of 2021 and will be able to catch up with the syllabus, but will continue with some excellent public exams.

Many school girls also became pregnant during the long break and at least two committed suicide because they did not receive the psychosocial support needed to cope with the situation.

In the midst of a pandemic, consumers were also struck by rising prices, but fiscal and financial authorities have succeeded in stopping this trend, primarily through the introduction of foreign currency auction systems.

The auction system, in which companies bid on available foreign currencies offered by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, is significantly checking the sneaky black market rates that have pushed up prices.

Prior to the introduction of this system, many companies procured foreign currency from the black market.

Ncube hopes that lost jobs will recover in 2021 as the economy recovers 7.4% from its second consecutive year of recession.

Cooperation with China

The Chinese government and the local Chinese community have assisted Zimbabwe through a variety of interventions, including the establishment of a state-of-the-art COVID-19 treatment center, refurbishment of other medical facilities, and the provision of face masks and personal protective equipment.

Chinese health professionals also came to Zimbabwe to share their experience of fighting a pandemic with the locals.

Meanwhile, Chinese companies maintained their presence and, although slowed down, continued to carry out major projects in Zimbabwe.

The main projects at various stages of completion are the expansion of the Fanghe thermal power plant, the expansion of Robert Mugabe International Airport and the construction of a new parliament building northwest of Harare.

The new building is now over 59% complete and President Emerson Mnangagwa is happy.

Mnangagwa has visited the construction site five times since the work done by the Shanghai Construction Group began in November 2018.

The state-of-the-art building is being built with a US $ 100 million grant from the Chinese government.

Construction of the building was scheduled to be completed by March 2021, but was rescheduled in September of the same year due to the confusion caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The majestic six-story building on the hill is the largest Chinese-funded building in southern Africa in recent years.

The US $ 1.2 billion expansion of the Hwange thermal power plant by Sinohydro went well during the year with the first unit commissioning scheduled for mid-2021.

The project will add two power generation units to the existing six at the country’s largest power plant.

COVID-19 exacerbates hardship in the year Zimbabweans endure trials

Source link COVID-19 exacerbates hardship in the year Zimbabweans endure trials

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