The South African Chamber of Commerce has noted the pronouncements made by the department of health on the discovery of the new Covid variant that has more mutations and is expected to be more transmissible.
The Covid pandemic has had a devastating effect on businesses and the economy, leading to significant job losses and an inability to create more jobs. The predicted 4th wave of infections is not something to be taken lightly, given the trade conditions environment and the state of the economy.
The new announcement has added to more anxiety and and this will certainly affect business confidence.
Of concern to us as business is the need for better communication by the department of health. We should all be proud of the world class pedigree of our virologists and scientists who continue to set standards on their work around Covid. This effort is to be commended.
In the absence of workable therapies against Covid, the non pharmaceutical and vaccination interventions remain the only tools we have at our disposal.
Whilst we cannot question the science and ability of our scientists to do the right thing, we have to question the purpose of creating the panic that the public announcement has no doubt created. The UK has already taken the decision to ban flights from South Africa and neighbouring countries.
The department of health could have handled the communication better, taking into consideration the impact on the economy, international trade partners and the public at large, without compromising on the scientific standards and any compliance requirements on protocols established with the WHO.
South Africa should tamper its enthusiasm to make public announcements on discoveries, with a mature dose of judiciousness. By this we do not mean taking any risks with public health safety, transparency and a compromise in scientific standards.
We should all remain resolute in fighting the pandemic and also in protecting livelihoods.
No purpose is served by communicating in a manner that adds to more volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. At the same time we are not advocating for lack of transparency, reckless management of public health and concealment of data that is designed to assist in better health care management and the protection of public health safety.
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RCCI concurs and supports this statement