KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala is taken through the Covid-19 testing procedure at a mobile test site. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency (ANA)
KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala is taken through the Covid-19 testing procedure at a mobile test site. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency (ANA)

Pan-African Parliament hails SA's efforts in Covid-19 fight

By Mthokozisi Dube Time of article published Apr 30, 2020

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Johannesburg - The Pan-African Parliament (PAP) has commended South Africa for engaging in vigorous efforts to stem the rising number of Covid-19 cases.

South Africa tops the sub-Saharan region in infection numbers, and in following up to mass testing, President Cyril Ramaphosa last week announced more measures that specifically expand the spaces available for patients as well as aim to rescue a threatened economy.

South Africa has 5 350 confirmed cases, followed by Egypt (4 534) and then Morocco (4 115). Algeria (3 382) and Cameroon (1 621) have equally recorded huge tallies despite the latter not announcing new infections since last week.

“The international health crisis caused by Covid-19 is extraordinarily overwhelming. African countries, as the whole world, have mobilised to face and win this unprecedented health war as a collective. Pan-African parliamentarians join the leaders of our continent in this tireless fight against this devastating pandemic for our societies,” the Pan-African parliament said.

The assembly commended Ramaphosa’s initiative that will see African leaders join forces to build a common pool of financial and human resources to respond to Covid-19.

The AU chairperson, Ramaphosa recently appointed four special envoys tasked with soliciting rapid and concrete support as pledged by the G20, the EU and other international financial institutions.

The appointment of the special envoys is expected to speed up securing economic support to enable countries on the continent to respond swiftly to this grave public health emergency.

On the local front, South Africa’s Health Department said it was increasing its capacity to accommodate the rising cases. The iconic Soccer City, a stadium that hosted the 2010 World Cup final, is being prepared for its new challenge as a field hospital for patients suffering from the novel coronavirus.

The calabash-shaped facility will join Nasrec Expo Centre, which is only 1km away from the stadium, as venues are redesigned to house patients who contract the respiratory disease. The proposal provides for at least 1 500 beds.

The government is also responding to the devastating effects of Covid-19, which has seen travel restrictions, lockdowns and tougher measures on hygiene. Ramaphosa’s government said it was allocating R500 billion to protect livelihoods and set the economy on a path of recovery.

The assembly also praised King Mohamed VI of Morocco “for his willingness to share knowledge and technology with the rest of the continent for the much-required manufacturing of equipment that is crucial in the treatment of Covid-19 patients”.

The Pan-African parliament believes that solutions that are inclusive of all African countries will help the continent to definitively overcome the pandemic.

The Star

* For the latest on the Covid-19 outbreak, visit IOL's special #Coronavirus page.

** If you think you have been exposed to the Covid-19 virus, please call the 24-hour hotline on 0800 029 999 or visit sacoronavirus.co.za 

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