Monday, 04 May 2020

Pretoria: South Africa has committed an amount of US $1.3 million in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

President Cyril Ramaphosa made the pledge during a World Health Organisation (WHO) Coronavirus Global Response pledging conference, which was convened by the European Union (EU) on Monday.

The conference mobilised resources for the WHO’s recently launched global collaboration to accelerate development, production and equitable global access to new COVID-19 essential health technologies.

The initiative entails the development and production of new COVID-19 tools, and equitable global access to safe, quality, effective and affordable COVID-19 diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines. The initiative is meant to ensure that in the fight against COVID-19, no country is left behind.

Speaking on behalf of the African Union, President Ramaphosa said COVID-19 is a health emergency of truly global proportions, yet developing countries are particularly vulnerable to its impact.

The pandemic, the AU chair said, requires coordinated and consistent international action, so that all countries are sufficiently capacitated.

The President called on all countries to make tangible commitments to bolster the global effort, but in particular, to support countries that bear the brunt of poverty, inequality and underdevelopment.

He said Africa has responded to the Coronavirus pandemic with urgency and purpose.

“The African Union has established a COVID-19 Response Fund to direct resources towards the continent’s response. To date, a total of $61 million has been committed to the fund and to support the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention,” President Ramaphosa said.

African countries are supporting each other through regional Coronavirus task forces to oversee screening, detection and diagnosis, and infection prevention and control.

“South Africa is making significant investments in science and innovation to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, and is participating in several research initiatives with partners across the world and to support African researchers.

“We pledge the capacities and facilities of South Africa’s Biovac Institute to support the global effort to develop, manufacture and distribute a COVID-19 vaccine. Now more than ever, the world needs solidarity and cooperation to mobilise and guide investments, and drive delivery towards equitable access for new COVID-19 diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines,” President Ramaphosa said.

A number of countries, which participated in the COVID-19 Virtual Pledging Conference, have also pledged millions in response to the pandemic. These include Norway, which pledged $220 million, $850 million pledged by Canada, and $456 million pledged by France.