Prof Abdool Karim steps down: SA hails an 'exceptional civil servant'
South Africans have paid tribute to Prof Salim Abdool Karim, who has stepped down as the co-chair of the ministerial advisory committee (MAC) on Covid-19.
Abdool Karim is one of the experts who investigated the first cases of Covid-19 when the pandemic hit SA last year.
As the head of the MAC, the epidemiologist and infectious diseases specialist helped South Africans navigate and understand the novel coronavirus.
Working alongside other experts, he also offered scientific advice to guide the government's response to Covid-19.
Abdool Karim handed in his resignation last month and publicly announced his decision on Thursday.
Many have described him as a “voice of reason” and his service as “exceptional”.
The professor said serving in the MAC has been a rewarding experience.
In a statement, he said he will refocus on science and HIV research.
“The MAC is well set to continue its good work and rise to the challenges of dealing with Covid-19. I have been thoroughly impressed with the skills, dedication and commitment of the MAC members and I leave knowing full well that advice on our Covid-19 response is in safe hands,” he said.
Health minister Zweli Mkhize commended Abdool Karim's handling of the pandemic and ability to explain complex issues.
“Throughout, he has remained focused, level-headed, calm and compassionate. Even under enormous pressure, Prof Abdool Karim always received everyone with his warm smile and reassuring presence,” he said on Thursday.
Here's how SA paid tribute:
SA's Covid-19 adviser Prof Salim Abdool Karim steps down. Oh My Lord. This is very bad news. Professor, please change your mind.— pamela (@PamelaSalalah) March 25, 2021
What a pity! Professor Salim Abdool Karim seems like one of the rational voices in South Africa!— Jean Campbell Collen (@jeanmcollen) March 25, 2021