The Bulletin 6 of the SADC Regional Response to COVID-19 provides highlights on recent tools and guidelines released by the World Health Organization (WHO). These include a case report form for a suspected case of Multi system inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C) as well as guidance in recommendations for mass gatherings, which is a resource to be used by Member States. The report further highlights the resolution adopted by the World Health Assembly (WHA). The resolution seeks to establish the origins of the novel coronavirus as well as initiate an “impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation” on the response of the WHO to the coronavirus crisis.
The global, continental and regional situation of COVID-19 is also presented. The Bulletin also presents the impact of COVID-19 on value chains, with emphasis on the fisheries and aquaculture value chain which was deliberated during the virtual meeting of Ministers responsible for Agriculture and Food Security, and Fisheries and Aquaculture held on 22 May 2020. Further, the Bulletin provides updates on the implementation of the SADC Guidelines on the Harmonization and Facilitation of Cross Border Transport Operations across the region, and on the Secretariat’s resource mobilization efforts towards COVID -19.
Key recommendations from the report include;
a) The gradual resumption of economic activities to be conducted simultaneously with the scaling up of the testing capacity in areas where public health measures are being lifted.
b) The testing policy should be informed by the epidemiological scenarios in the country and must follow WHO recommendations in terms of prioritization of populations and individuals and priority should be given to testing of health care workers, communities with clusters and exposed individuals in quarantine.
c) Ensuring supply chain access with consideration of gender, and, for those operations exporting within the region, continent and overseas, ensuring continued access to and cooperation from officials at ports, rail and border crossings so they can maintain their sales.
d) Continuous Implementation of the SADC guidelines on facilitation of cross-border transportation with emphasis on adopting harmonized test protocols including mutual recognition of test results and agreement on validity period of test result.