COVID-19 not only a global health crisis but also an economic crisis; Ramaphosa

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South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa. /Photo courtesy: South African Presidency

The COVID-19 pandemic is not only a global health crisis but also an economic crisis, according to South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa made the remarks in a televised address on Wednesday on the developments in South Africa’s risk-adjusted strategy to manage the spread of the disease.

“No country, no industry and no person is unaffected. Here in South Africa, the pandemic has severely disrupted the livelihoods of millions of people,” he said.

South Africa is Africa’s worst affected country by the COVID-19 pandemic, having reported more than 73,000 infections and over 1,500 deaths, according to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

In efforts to curb the spread of the disease, the South African government imposed a strict nationwide lockdown, but after weeks began easing it gradually as the country’s economy took a battering.

In his address on Wednesday, President Ramaphosa urged South Africans to continue adhering to the health guidelines laid out in a bid to contain the disease.

He also noted that the country’s borders will remain closed to all non-essential foreign travel. Exception is given to transporters of goods and repatriation of South Africans stranded abroad.

“We have seen that simple precautions & changes in behaviour can reduce the spread of COVID-19. Strict social distancing, the use of masks in public & proper hand hygiene are vital to our success in overcoming this virus,” he said.

Earlier on Wednesday, President Ramaphosa joined other African leaders in a virtual meeting co-chaired by the Chinese President Xi Jinping on the cooperation between the two sides in the fight against COVID-19.

The virtual Extraordinary China-Africa Solidarity Summit was initiated by President Xi, President Ramaphosa and Senegal’s President Macky Sall.

President Xi assured African countries that China will continue supporting COVID-19 containment measures on the continent.

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