Parliament on novel coronavirus outbreak

The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Health, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, welcomes the assurance from the Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize, that South Africa is ready to detect, manage and contain the novel coronavirus if it reaches South Africa.

The reassurances by the Minister are welcomed and will allay any fears. It will give South Africans confidence in the department and the National Institute for Communicable Diseases’ ability to detect and effectively manage any case if necessary, Dr Dhlomo said.

The committee urges heightened cooperation between the Department of Home Affairs and the Airports Company of South Africa to enable increased surveillance of people entering South Africa, particularly from countries with confirmed cases of the virus. Furthermore, collaboration and sharing of information is encouraged with other countries and the World Health Organisation to ensure that processes and procedures are revised to meet changing circumstances.

I have full confidence in the ability and expertise within the Department of Health and the National Institute for Communicable Diseases to detect, manage and contain the virus if it reaches our shores. The processes laid out by the Minster are clear and must be followed religiously, Dr Dhlomo emphasised.

Dr Dhlomo also encouraged ongoing communication from the department to counter any fake news that might cause unwarranted panic.

Source: Government of South Africa