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By News24 Wire

Wire Service

Presidential Coordinating Council ‘meets’ to outline progress, challenges on regulations of national lockdown

The first virtual meeting of the PCC discussed challenges and progress on the implementation of the lockdown, and saw national and provincial governments work towards an economic recovery strategy.

President Cyril Ramaphosa convened the first virtual meeting of the Presidential Coordinating Council (PCC) on Saturday.

The PPC, co-chaired by Deputy President David Mabuza is made up of President Cyril Ramaphosa convened the first virtual meeting of the Presidential Coordinating Council (PCC) on Saturday to assess the challenges and progress on the implementation of the national lockdown, set out to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The PPC, co-chaired by Deputy President David Mabuza, is made up of ministers, and premiers of all provinces and the South Africa Local Government Association (SALGA).

“The meeting further sought to begin engagements between national and provincial governments towards an economic recovery strategy,” the president’s spokesperson Khusela Diko said in a statement.

The council received a report from the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NatJoints) that covered issues from adherence to the national lockdown regulations, ongoing contract tracing, accommodation requirements including identified quarantine sites and the roll-out of the mass community testing programme.

Since the start of the lockdown, 5,400 field workers have been trained and have been deployed to various areas across the country, while thousands more are still expected to undergo training.

A total of 993 wards and priority districts have already been identified, these were mostly made up of the most vulnerable and at-risk communities, as well as areas with high rates of infection.

Provinces are now working with the National Health Laboratory Services (NHLS) to identify testing sites.

Such sites will include both fixed and mobile testing facilities.

Diko has indicated that the government is receiving early warning of potential clusters of infections through the Covid-19 Data Management Centre, therefore, pre-emptive targeted testing in identified areas has been deployed.

The government also receives estimates on infections, assess the local healthcare capacity and the effectiveness of the lockdown.

“The PCC further considered the security of supply of essential medical supplies, including regulations that have been established to restrict exports of essential medical goods. Government is ramping up efforts to build-up local manufacturing capacity and assessing the capacity of state-owned entities to produce essential supplies,” she said.

During the meeting, the PCC recognised the work done by the Department of Water and Sanitation to increase access to water, to date more than 6,000 tanks and 723 tankers have been delivered across the country.

The government expects that this programme will be maintained and escalated in the coming days and weeks even long after the pandemic has passed.

Premiers of various provinces have emphasised the need for greater coordination and communications around the state of disaster across all levels of government, further reaffirming the regulations uniformly gazetted as binding throughout the country.

Diko added that “the PCC appreciated the clarity provided on the recent amendments to the lockdown regulations relating to informal traders and public transport, particularly minibus taxis,” she said.

Furthermore, SALGA confirmed the readiness of municipalities to assist in the issuing of permits to informal traders and spaza shop owners.

Meanwhile, municipalities are also ready to hand over some of their facilities to be used for isolation and quarantine.

“President Ramaphosa has commended national, provincial and local government for the concerted measures to provide relief to the most vulnerable communities, informal sector workers and indigent households during this period.

“While appreciating the hardship and inconvenience the national lockdown has caused, the president has reasserted that, across the world, it has been countries that have imposed restrictions on movement and gatherings that have managed to flatten the curve,” Diko added.

Ramaphosa has urged the government and members of the public to build on the momentum already established by the urgent need to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, also to rethink how governments, businesses and communities function and relate to each other in future.

“The coronavirus changes everything,” Ramaphosa said.

The Presidential Coordinating Council is expected to meet on a regular basis to ensure alignment to the national response on the coronavirus pandemic.

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