SACCI: Announcement of new Covid-19 variant ‘could have been better’

SACCI: Announcement of new Covid-19 variant ‘could have been better’

The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry says it fears the manner in which government announced the emergence of a new Covid-19 variant is likely to add more anxiety.

Concept of SARS-CoV-2 or 2019-ncov coronavirus stock photo covid-19 generic

It could also negatively impact business confidence.

The latest variant, known as B.1.1.529, was confirmed by the Department of Health in a media briefing on Thursday.

This led several countries, including the UK and Germany, banning all travel from South Africa and five other Southern African countries

Japan, Israel and the European Union also followed with the announcement to place stricter measures against South Africans travelling to their part of the world.

SACCI CEO Alan Mukoki says they believe the communication around the emergence of the new variant was not optimal.

“South Africa should taper its enthusiasm to make public announcements on discoveries, with a mature dose of judiciousness. By this, we do not mean taking any risks with public health safety, transparency and a compromise in scientific standards.

“No purpose is served by communicating in a manner that adds to more volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. At the same time, we are not advocating for lack of transparency, reckless management of public health and concealment of data that is designed to assist in better health care management and the protection of public health safety,” says Mukoki.

Mukoki says the government should have considered the impact on business.

“Of concern to us as a business is the need for better communication by the department of health. We should all be proud of the world-class pedigree of our virologists and scientists who continue to set standards on their work around Covid. This effort is to be commended.

“Whilst we cannot question the science and ability of our scientists to do the right thing. We have to question the purpose of creating the panic that the public announcement has no doubt created.”


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