S. African president calls for cooperation, caution amid COVID-19 resurgence

Cyril Ramaphosa

With the COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the world and damaging economies, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has called for cooperation and caution to curb a resurgence of the virus and rebuild the economy.

“We are meeting at a time of global crisis, a time that calls for cooperation and dialogue between the nations of the world,” Ramaphosa told the 12th BRICS summit, calling on BRICS members, namely Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, and the international community to support a stimulus package for African countries to deal with the impact of the pandemic. “This will enable African countries to contain the disease and rebuild our damaged economies,” he said.

Noting that trade and investment ties between BRICS countries must be strengthened to improve economic recoveries, the president urged a review of the BRICS Strategy for Economic Partnership 2025.

“Since restoring our economies to good health is a goal common to us all, it is timely that we are undertaking a review of the BRICS Strategy for Economic Partnership 2025,” he said.

On Nov. 11, Ramaphosa warned against complacency about the virus in a television address amid rising infections in some parts of South Africa.

“The first is the situation in the Eastern Cape, which is showing signs of a resurgence,” he said, adding that with many people moving between the Eastern Cape and other provinces, particularly the Western Cape, it is a matter of time before this surge spreads to other parts of the country.

“In response to the rising infections, we are implementing the resurgence plan that has been developed together with the surge team deployed to South Africa by the World Health Organization,” said the president.

He said that interventions include primary health care outreach teams to intensify contact tracing, daily community mobilization, ensuring the readiness of health facilities, and being ready to respond to possible clusters outbreaks. “We are therefore also closely monitoring developments in areas that are experiencing higher than average rates of new infections,” he said.

Ramaphosa also urged citizens to be cautious about gatherings with the festive season coming up next month. “These activities, if not undertaken responsibly, pose the greatest immediate threat to our management of the pandemic.

But we can avoid a second wave if we each play our part, if we remember what we need to do to keep ourselves and others safe,” he said. As of Tuesday, the African continent has recorded 1,986,864 coronavirus cases with 47,647 deaths, according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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