Presidential Coordinating Council meets to outline progress and challenges on regulations of the National Lockdown

2020-04-04 21:23
Even President Cyril Ramaphosa is working from home.

Even President Cyril Ramaphosa is working from home. (YouTube screen grab)

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President Cyril Ramaphosa convened the first virtual meeting of the Presidential Coordinating Council (PCC) on Saturday. 

The PPC convened its first virtual meeting to assess the challenges and progress on the implementation of the national lockdown, set out to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The PPC, co-chaired by Deputy President David Mabuza, is made up of ministers and premiers of all nine provinces and the South Africa Local Government Association (SALGA).

"The meeting further sought to begin engagements between national and provincial governments towards an economic recovery strategy," the president's spokesperson, Khusela Diko, said in a statement.

The council received a report from the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NatJoints) that covered issues from adherence to the national lockdown regulations, ongoing contract tracing, accommodation requirements including identified quarantine sites and the roll-out of the mass community testing programme.

Since the start of the lockdown, 5 400 field workers have been trained and have been deployed to various areas across the country, while thousands more are still expected to undergo training.

A total of 993 wards and priority districts have already been identified, these were mostly made up of the most vulnerable and at-risk communities, as well as areas with high rates of infection.

Provinces are now working with the National Health Laboratory Services (NHLS) to identify testing sites.

Such sites will include both fixed and mobile testing facilities.

Diko has indicated that the government is receiving early warning of potential clusters of infections through the Covid-19 Data Management Centre, therefore, pre-emptive targeted testing in identified areas has been deployed.

"The PCC further considered the security of supply of essential medical supplies, including regulations that have been established to restrict exports of essential medical goods. Government is ramping up efforts to build up local manufacturing capacity and assessing the capacity of state-owned entities to produce essential supplies," she said.

During the meeting, the PCC recognised the work done by the Department of Water and Sanitation to increase access to water; to date, more than 6 000 tanks and 723 tankers have been delivered across the country.

The government expects that this programme will be maintained and escalated in the coming days and weeks even long after the pandemic has passed.

Premiers of various provinces have emphasised the need for greater coordination and communications around the state of disaster across all levels of government, further reaffirming the regulations uniformly gazetted as binding throughout the country.

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Meanwhile, municipalities are also ready to hand over some of their facilities to be used for isolation and quarantine.

"President Ramaphosa has commended national, provincial and local government for the concerted measures to provide relief to the most vulnerable communities, informal sector workers and indigent households during this period.

'Build on the momentum'

Ramaphosa has urged the government and members of the public to build on the momentum already established by the urgent need to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, also to rethink how governments, businesses and communities function and relate to each other in future.

"The coronavirus changes everything," Ramaphosa said.

Ministers, premiers of all provinces and SALGA, were held to assess the challenges and progress on the implementation of the national lockdown, set out to stop the spread of the coronavirus. 

"The meeting further sought to begin engagements between national and provincial governments towards an economic recovery strategy," the President's spokesperson Khusela Diko said in a statement. 

At-risk communities

Diko has indicated that the government is receiving early warning of potential clusters of infections through the Covid-19 Data Management Centre; therefore, testing in identified areas has been deployed.

The government also receives estimates on infections, assess the local healthcare capacity and the effectiveness of the lockdown.

Furthermore, SALGA confirmed the readiness of municipalities to assist in the issuing of permits to informal traders and spaza shop owners.

"While appreciating the hardship and inconvenience the national lockdown has caused, the President has reasserted that, across the world, it has been countries that have imposed restrictions on movement and gatherings that have managed to flatten the curve," Diko added.

The Presidential Coordinating Council is expected to meet on a regular basis to ensure alignment to the national response on the coronavirus pandemic.

Read more on:    cyril ramaphosa  |  coronavirus
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