South Africa’s COVID-19 trajectory is unique, because unlike most other countries, it did not see an exponential increase in cases after its first 100 cases. The most likely explanation was that the country had seen three epidemics: one among travellers, a second among their contacts and a third epidemic of community transmission. By the time the lockdown began on March 26, the first two epidemics had largely burnt out, and community transmission was not occurring at a significant level, said Professor Salim (Slim) Abdool Karim, the co-director of the Centre for Aids Research in Africa at UKZN and chair of the minister’s advisory committee on COVID-19.
There are sub-committees dealing with clinical matters, laboratory testing, public health strategies and research. The committee of clinicians, laboratory testing committee, public health committee, and research committee chaired by Professor Glenda Gray, the SAMRC President and CEO.
Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has created a team of expert advisors who provide guidance on critical health issues as the country tries to prevent the spread of the pandemic. The committee works in the background, bringing together scientific evidence and experience to the Minister and the National Department of Health. The advice shared with the Minister takes the form of guidelines that the department will release or advice on specific topics to help the Minister to make the best decisions in our country’s fight against the pandemic.
Watch the Health minister’s technical public engagement with experts dealing with COVID-19 in South Africa.