Lockdown has bought us time, Professor Salim Karim says, as South Africa bucks the trend

A proactive approach to fighting community transmissions of coronavirus infections has given South Africa the edge for now in the war against the global epidemic and while lockdown appears to be working, the country has a long way to go in fighting the disease. 

South Africa is showing a unique trajectory of the coronavirus infection, with provisional data showing that government measures to slow down the infection rate are working.

This was the message from the chair of South Africa’s Covid-19 Ministerial Advisory Committee, Professor Salim Abdool Karim, during a Zoom meeting set up to explain some of the data used by the government to take decisions relating to the epidemic.

Abdool Karim reiterated that their main concern was for the two million to 2.5 million South Africans who are HIV-positive but not on antiretrovirals and especially an estimated 500,000 of them who have low CD4 counts. These counts are a measurement of a specific type of white blood cell that is indicative of a person’s immune function.

South African farmers are old hands at adapting to uncertain and daunting circumstances, and our local agricultural industry has proved to be most enterprising in acclimatising to challenges as they arise. The Covid-19 outbreak should be regarded as an urgent call for employers to take proactive care of agricultural workers, who are integral to our nation’s food production.

In this country we are most fortunate to have such resourceful and hardy individuals, farming communities and companies working to ensure the security of South Africa’s food supply during the current national disaster and beyond. Providing your essential services during the Covid-19 lockdown is a great service to our country.

Our farms, as microcosms of society, will be stirred by the winds of change brought about by Covid-19 and it is very likely that it will leave an indelible mark on the way we see and do things going forward. The industry’s history is littered with disasters and ‘almost disasters’ that we have adapted to and that have now become part of our daily lives.
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The South African Pork Producers’ Organisation (SAPPO) coordinates industry interventions and collaboratively manages risks in the value chain to enable the sustainability and profitability of pork producers in South Africa.