The portfolio committee on health has commended the health department and the Ministerial Task Team on COVID-19 for work undertaken thus far on combating the pandemic.
The committee held a virtual meeting with the health minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize, the department, MEC’s of health from the nine provinces, ministerial advisory team chair Prof Salim Abdool-Karim, National Institute for Communicable Diseases and the South African Health Regulatory Authority at the end of last week on progress made so far.
In a statement, the committee chairperson, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, said that the “committee thanked the team for the hard work it is doing under difficult times, and on how the team has handled the outbreak of the pandemic in the country”.
The committee received an update on the latest developments relating to Covid-19 and engaged the minister on issues covered in the media concerning protective equipment in healthcare facilities and the progress with Covid-19 screening in various provinces.
Prof Abdool-Karim declared that the decision to go on a countrywide lockdown was “timely that the epidemic as we see in other countries is following a very conservative curve, not exponential, however, we should not rest but press on in this positive direction”.
The committee will receive weekly updates on measures to combat COVID-19.
Meanwhile, in a separate statement, the committee urged President Ramaphosa to ignore calls from the Liquor Forum in Gauteng to sell liquor during the lockdown.
Dr Dhlomo indicated that the committee commends President Ramaphosa’s call which includes banning the sale of alcohol during the lockdown period.
“The President should not give those who want to sell alcohol space to do so as that might predispose them to being exposed to the pandemic unaware.”