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Declare Coronavirus A National Disaster, SADC States Urged

The Southern African People’s Solidarity Network (SAPSN) has expressed worry over the rising number of Coronavirus infections and suspected cases in some SADC member States saying the state health care system leaves most countries at great risk of the pandemic.

In a proclamation the network questioned the state of preparedness to tackle the pandemic singling out Zimbabwe where ordinary citizens are failing to access basic healthcare due to economic problems.

“Reports of local spread of COVID 19 in South Africa is a major cause for concern, as the country shares some of the busiest borders with countries like Zimbabwe, posing high risks of spreading the virus.

“What is more worrying is the deplorable state of public healthcare services in most SADC countries with the case in point being Zimbabwe, where citizens already cannot access basic healthcare. The bigger question is, to what extent are our governments prepared to handle the pandemic when they struggle to provide decent and basic public healthcare in normal situation?” said SAPSN

The Network expressed concern over the adoption of “the wait and see” approach by SADC members states.

“Lack of disaster preparedness in most SADC countries to rapidly respond to the looming catastrophe is also a cause for concern with no clear plan on how to deal with the pandemic; The adoption of a “wait and see” attitude by some of SADC Heads of States and Governments is also worrying as the crisis requires pro action by the authorities. The unavailability of world class equipment and medical necessities required to handle coronavirus in SADC member states which is deep rooted in political, social and economic crises,”

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SAPSN urged SADC governments to declare the Covid-19 a national disaster as well as to mobilise resources.

“Having noted the above, we urge SADC Heads of State and Governments to declare coronavirus a national disaster. The risks associated with coronavirus that has already found its way in SADC across regional economies, health, human safety and security is life threatening. It is therefore imperative for all SADC countries to declare this pandemic a disaster.

“Set up Special Funds as a matter of urgency as well as activating units for national disaster management. All SADC member states must respect every

every regional citizen’s right to health and ensure that all efforts towards controlling the pandemic must be premised on equality and equity regardless of one’s sex, gender, age and social status”

Zimbabwe has already declared a national disaster despite not having any confirmed case.

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