Virologist says government is monitoring COVID-19 trend despite disbandment of committee

sabc news zweli mkhize twitter 1 1 - Virologist says government is monitoring COVID-19 trend despite disbandment of committee

Virologist and advisory expert to government Professor Tulio de Oliveira says they are still monitoring the trend of coronavirus in the country for signs of a second wave of infections.

This follows news that Health Minister Dr. Zweli Mkhize has disbanded the government Chief Scientific Advisory Committee on COVID-19.

The Committee was established during the pandemic in April to advise the government. Earlier this month as the infection rate began to ease, Mkhize announced the reconfiguration of the committee.

De Oliveira says it was the right time to disband the committee and there are various working groups that are still advising  government.

“I do believe that it was the right time but I also believe that if infections start to grow again we will also have what we call a second wave advisory committee or MAC. So there are many different structures, the ministerial advisory committee that have the key scientists and insiders that you have what you call working groups.”

“For example, we participate in the working group of reinfection, we did participate in the working group of aerosol transmission and we have been invited to participate in the working group of the second wave of infection,” adds De Oliveira.

Mkhize disbands the Ministerial Advisory Committee on COVID-19:

Medical association concerned over disbandment of COVID-19 advisory committee

The SA Medical Association has raised some concern over the disbandment of the government’s chief scientific advisory committee on COVID-19.

Dr. Mkhize appointed another committee last week that will focus on vaccines for COVID-19.

Chairperson of the SA Medical Association, Dr. Angelique Coetzee, says although they respect Mkhize’s decision, the minister should not exclude scientific input.

“We should not disregard the scientific input of the scientists. It’s his prerogative what he wants to do, I would have just done it a bit differently because there are still unfinished reports that need to go in. We never know what the politics behind everything is and maybe the minister will get a committee that is in favour and say more things that are appreciated at government level.

I think if you want to have a good committee you need to get a committee that has got very strong views and not afraid to criticise.”

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