The Zimbabwe Built Environment Professionals – a community of professional bodies that include the Engineering Council of Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Institution of Engineers, the Zimbabwe Association of Consulting Engineers, the Architects Council, the Institute of Architects, Zimbabwe Institute of Quantity Surveyors, Project Management Institute Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Building Contractors Association and the Construction Industry Federation of Zimbabwe.
The outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has fast become a global pandemic. As of August 31st, 2020, there were over 25,449,163 confirmed cases across the world with over 851,574 deaths and 17,760,450 recoveries recorded. As of the same date, Zimbabwe had recorded 6,412 confirmed cases, 196 deaths and 5,061 recoveries. The Government of Zimbabwe (GoZ) declared the COVID-19 crisis a “national disaster” on March 27, 2020 and initiated a nationwide lockdown three days later on March 30. Although the ongoing national lockdown is intended to slow the spread of COVID-19, the figures of the infected keep creeping up.
The virus has negatively impacted economies globally as activity in construction, manufacturing, tourism, mining and international trade has slowed down or ceased altogether. Domestically, lockdown has also had the unintended consequence of negatively affecting the economy and the livelihoods of the people of Zimbabwe. According to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development’s (MFED) Mid-Year Budget Review, Zimbabwe’s GDP growth is projected to contract by (-) 4.5% in 2020, against the initial Budget projection of (+) 3% growth.
Though the majority of covid-19 patients are known to suffer a mild self-limiting condition, 20% of those infected suffer a worse case of the condition that requires hospitalisation and about half of that number require specialised intensive care. The need to isolate covid-19 patients and the challenges of self-quarantine in an environment of limited accommodation establishes an urgent need for stand-alone facilities to allow the health system to continue to function in the face of other ongoing challenges with HIV and AIDS and many other diseases plaguing the Zimbabwe society. The Zimbabwe health system is simply not geared to simultaneously deal with covid-19 and the other infectious diseases as there is a critical shortage of hospital beds, equipment, healthcare providers and private accommodation for self-quarantine.