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OHSC statement on COVID-19

28 March 2020

The last few weeks have been unparalleled with a worldwide public health emergency due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) affecting people in South Africa and thousands across the globe in various countries.

The Office of Health Standards Compliance (OHSC) noted with appreciation the announcement by the Honourable President, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa that South Africa should observe a nationwide lockdown for 21-days with effect from midnight on Thursday, 26 March 2020 as part of efforts to curb the rapid transmission of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) and flatten the curve in the country.

The OHSC noted with great sadness the passing of a patient who succumbed to Covid-19 in the Western Cape. The constant increase in Covid-19 cases, confirmed by the Minister of Health in South Africa is of great concern. The OHSC acknowledges efforts by the National Department of Health (NDoH), the various South African Government Departments, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) and many other role players in the public and private health sector to provide measures to prevent the spread of the virus in South Africa.

The World Health Organization (WHO) called on Governments to increase the manufacturing of personal protective equipment such as protective surgical gear ,masks and N95 respirators to curb the spread of Covid-19 in South Africa and other countries.

The OHSC as the regulator in health has a responsibility to protect and promote the health and safety of users of health services, both in the public and private health establishments in South Africa.

Whilst Covid-19 is recognised as a public health emergency, the OHSC calls on the public and private health establishments to employ all measures to minimise at all cost the risk of spread of Covid-19 to those in the coalface of managing the virus by providing all healthcare workers, laboratory personnel, support personnel and identified patients with personal protective equipment in all health establishments in South Africa. The country cannot afford to lose any healthcare workers, laboratory personnel or any other personnel involved in the management of the disease. These selfless members of society should be protected from contracting the disease.

The OHSC extends support and gratitude to healthcare workers and all personnel currently engaged in efforts to fight Covid-19.

The South African public is urged to observe the call to stay at home to protect themselves and those around during the lockdown period and adhere to preventive measures.

For more information contact: Ricardo Mahlakanya: Mobile. 066 473 8666, and Email. rmahlakanya@ohsc.org.za