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In their own words: How business, art, sport are affected by novel coronavirus lockdown

Leaders in business, sport and arts discuss how the novel coronavirus lockdown has affected their respective sectors. They also peek into the future

If there is one thing that is undeniable is that the novel coronavirus has upended lives in Zimbabwe and life will never be the same again for many people.

Business, the arts sector and sport have been affected in different ways.

We spoke to a few experts in different fields to understand their thoughts on how the novel coronavirus has affected each sector.

CZI — Industry

The 3% GDP growth that was projected in the 2020 Fiscal Policy may not be achievable due to the COVID-19 pandemic in addition to already existing underlying factors that are negatively weighing down the local economy.

The need to increase health expenditure will put a strain on the fiscus which has had a fair share of fiscal deficits.

Unemployment is likely to increase, as employers scale down operations due to shortages of raw materials and access to export markets.

The Covid-19 pandemic will slow down demand and economic growth revival efforts in 2020 for Zimbabwe due to lockdown in other markets and the local market.

Commodity shortages as supply chains are disrupted.

The reduction in global manufacturing activity will affect local production

Reduced export revenue as markets are currently dormant due to lockdown.

Already perishable horticulture products have been affected so far, together with gold, chrome and platinum.

Shortages of raw materials and critical intermediates inputs will heighten either because markets are closed or shortage of forex.

As the aviation industry is affected with more and more airlines grounded, Zimbabwe will lose tourism and hospitality receipts which are key to foreign currency supply. For instance, by the beginning of March 2020, flights into Zimbabwe had fallen by 30%, and this is before the lockdowns became worse around the world, with many countries completely shutting down their borders and banning any travel.

The economy will also suffer a reduction in the flow of remittances from the diaspora which will negatively affect the foreign currency purse and aggregate demand, as consumer spending reduces.

If Zimbabwe experiences the pandemic, she will suffer human capital loss due to mortality.

The local economy may suffer food deficiencies since most cereal commodities are imported.

You can read more on how the coronavirus is likely to affect the economy.

Fortune Nyamande — Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights

There is need for health workers to be trained on the standard operating procedures on handling suspected cases.

We are particularly concerned about the fragile health system and demotivated staff who are forced to use obsolete equipment to treat patients.

There is need to strengthen the surveillance at the ports of entry and ensure that there are effective quarantine facilities for all cases, confirmed or unconfirmed.

In addition to the current laboratory tests we are doing using Polymerase chain reaction (PCR), we also need other radiological tools such as CT scan at the major institutions involved in the treatment of COVID-19 cases.

Nicholas Moyo — National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ)

It (coronavirus) is a sad chapter in the country’s arts and culture business, as artists and promoters will find themselves in a precarious situation as livelihoods are threatened in the wake of the deadly coronavirus.

Some local promoters that had already signed contracts and paid international artistes have been forced to cancel such major shows.

We salute these promoters as they take the lead in protecting creative music consumers from exposure and at the same time complying with the government’s call.

We are alive to the negative impact that this novel coronavirus disaster will have on the creative and cultural sector.

The industry will have to deal with the impact of the cancellations and or postponement of performances or events during this period of uncertainty.

In the meantime creatives, celebrities and ambassadors of various products are stepping up their participation as key communicators on various messages on coronavirus.

Together we shall stand to build our economy and our industries inclusive of the creative industry.

Titus Zvomuya — Sports and Recreation Commission

Some of the cancelled games, events and tournaments were a major blow locally.

No games means no ticket sales and reduced media payments for disciplines like professional golf and cricket.

The financial fallout from cancelled or postponed sporting events is likely to be significant — and, for some leagues, long-lasting.

For the first time in nearly two decades, the $160 billion sports world has gone dark.

The ramifications of cancelling or postponing play are wide-ranging, from mundane considerations about competition to potentially serious financial consequences for athletes, teams, leagues and organisations, and the tens of thousands of people who work at sporting events.

The problem now is that, as a mass event business, sports cannot occur because of the risk of spreading the coronavirus, bringing everything to a screeching halt.

While there are currently no regions in Japan where a widespread novel coronavirus infection has been confirmed, qualifying events for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games have been disrupted worldwide by the spread of the infection in many countries and Zimbabwe has not been spared.

A number of athletes and National Olympic Committees have also stated that they are unable to continue training in this environment, and this unprecedented situation has been a cause of great concern to many of us.

Most major regional, continental and international competitions and championships have been cancelled, postponed or rescheduled and this has left many local athletes and officials frustrated and not knowing what to do next.

Most athletes had reached their peak in terms of preparation and this development has left them exposed to reclining through lack of training or lack of competition.

However, my thoughts and sincere condolences are with all those affected by this crisis, and Zimbabwe should continue to prioritise the safety of athletes, spectators and all other Games participants.

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