Department of Science and Innovation
A core situational awareness platform for COVID-19 has been set up.
In a statement, the science and innovation department confirmed that it has, through the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), successfully commissioned and finalised the physical establishment of a core situational awareness platform for COVID-19.
According to the department, the core of the platform is health data but the plan is to integrate other types of data into the system to provide holistic decision support to South Africa’s National Command Centre for COVID-19.
The minister of higher education, science and innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande, at a recent UNESCO virtual Ministerial Dialogue on COVID-19 and Open Science, pointed out that experts from the CSIR and the health department were “working flat-out to create a range of data warehouses, including for the current geographic spread of the COVID-19 disease, current cases, health vulnerabilities, and local health and other relevant facilities”.
“The team has also identified opportunities for accessing key data sets held by the private sector for the explicit purpose of strengthening our situational capacity efforts,” said Dr Nzimande, adding that government was counting on the private sector’s support in this regard.
The department also revealed that other initiatives underway include that a University of Pretoria team is mobilising networks across Africa to build databases on COVID-19 cases, the Human Sciences Research Council is running an online survey designed to obtain a better understanding of current behaviour and perceptions related to COVID-19 and the department has made R12 million available for COVID-19 interventions and will redirect an additional R30 million to, amongst other things, repurpose and test the efficacy of several existing drugs for the treatment for COVID-19.