The 7th Bulletin of the SADC Regional COVID-19 provides highlights of global and regional developments. The world is currently waiting for a vaccine; this report provides highlights from the recently concluded Global Vaccine Summit which provided information on the progress being made towards finding a vaccine for COVID-19. The report further outlines some key impacts of COVID-19 on, among others, the health work force, health systems, trade and transport, economy as well as on climate change and the environment.
Trade and transport facilitation continue to remain high on the SADC agenda, including during this period of COVID-19. To that end, the developments on these sectors continue to unfold, and the report highlights these emerging issues including joint efforts involving the SADC, East African Community (EAC) and COMESA to harmonise the respective guidelines.
Key recommendations for Member States to consider, include;
a) The need for Member States to position themselves for the upcoming interventions such as vaccines, given the importance of vaccines in addressing COVID-19.
b) The importance of continued implementation of public health measures such as hand hygiene, using masks in public as well as maintaining social distancing at all times.
c) Importance of planning and forecasting human resource needs to address the expected demands in health workers as the pandemic progresses, this may include recruiting retired/semi-retired and other cadres to address human resource gaps that may be experienced.
d) Continuous engagement with the private sector, who not only provide resources to support governments, but who also facilitate local production of supplies such as Personal Protective Equipmement (PPEs) and other essential products.
e) Implement broad based policies including those related to sound debt management and transparency; good governance; effective regulation and supervision; and prudent macroeconomic policies to address economic impacts including in the post COVID-19 recovery phase.
f) Continue to implement the SADC Regional Guidelines on Trade and Transport Facilitation.
g) Adopt and implement safe waste management practices to minimize COVID-19 infections at health facilities and domestic settings.