ACDP calls for daily coronavirus updates after first case confirmed

By ANA Reporter Time of article published Mar 5, 2020

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PORT ELIZABETH - ACDP MP Steven Swart has called on the government to be more proactive in its public awareness campaign on the coronavirus (Covid-19) after Health Minister Zweli Mkhize confirmed the first South African case. 

Speaking in the National Assemblyduring the debate of the coronavirus and the readiness of South Africa to deal with the pandemic, Swart thanked all members of the health sector who were doing their best under trying circumstances.

"The ACDP would like to dedicate this speech to the brave doctor from Wuhan in China, who first exposed the truth about the coronavirus, Doctor Li Wenliang sadly, he passed away in February, a victim of the very virus he exposed.

"Across the world, authorities have been scrambling to halt the virus' rapid spread. Schools have been shut, major cultural and sports events suspended, and work hours cut-back. 

Calling for daily updates on the virus, Swart spoke of the measures taken in other countries disseminate information that could assist in halting the spread of the disease.

"Key measures in Italy and Iran have been to encourage members of the public to remain at least a meter apart, and to avoid physical contact and avoid public places. 

"The ACDP would encourage the government to be more proactive in its public awareness campaign about symptoms, where to get help, and preventative
measures we can all take. 

"We also need to be mindful that some South Africans may be more susceptible to respiratory diseases, given the high  levels of tubercolosis (TB)  in our nation. Bear in mind, that many of our people commute using overcrowded trains or taxis, for example.

Encouraging churches and other faith-based organisations to assist in communicating information to create awareness about the disease, Swart also pledged his party's support to the government. 

"We need to be praying: many of us are believers, but we need prayer and we need action, encouraging a sense of calm in the situation. 

"We also want to warn against any fake news that is being spread around about the virus, creating unnecessary fear and panic.

"We don't need fear or panic, but we must be properly prepared. The ACDP will come alongside government to do whatever is necessary, and also exercise our oversight responsibilities," Swart said.

He called on all South Africans to take collective responsibility to stay safe and contain the potential threat of the Coronavirus.

"The ACDP wishes the Minister everything of the very best as we deal with this threat, but let's be open, let's be frank, let's be accountable and let us not hide information that citizens need to know about," Swart said.

African News Agency

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