‘Panic-driven decisions must end’: Madonsela slams reports calling Omicron ‘SA variant’
With growing concerns over the new Covid-19 variant Omicron, former public protector Thuli Madonsela says leaders need to take ethical and purpose-driven decisions.
Madonsela’s call comes after the new variant was labelled a “SA variant” by international commentators and on social media. The variant was first detected in the country last week.
“It’s clear we need a better communication strategy for the release of information on the discovery of new variants or mutations of the coronavirus.
“We further need political leaders to be deft at dealing with our VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity) world. Key is data and not panic-driven decisions,” said Madonsela.
She said transactional and panic-driven decisions must end to educate people about the virus.
“Decisions taken on Covid-19 by political leaders, anywhere in the world, should also be ethical, purpose driven, impact conscious and committed to serve all in our globalised, interconnected and hyper interdependent world. The transactional [and] panic-driven decisions must end,” said Madonsela.
It’s clear that we need a better communication strategy for the release of information on the discovery of new variants or mutations of the coronavirus #Covid19.We further need political leaders to be deft at dealing with our #VUCA world.Key is data and not panic driven decisions https://t.co/ofvZz3iiRZ— Prof Thuli Madonsela #SocialJustice (@ThuliMadonsela3) November 28, 2021
The new variant was first detected in the country using samples taken between November 14 and 16.
Health minister Joe Phaahla said he believes the variant was behind an exponential daily increase in Covid-19 cases across the country in recent days.
“We were hopeful we might have a longer break in between waves, possibly that it would hold off to late December or even January,” said Phaahla.
Prof Adrian Puren, National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) acting executive director, said detected cases and the percentage of people testing positive were “increasing quickly” in Gauteng, North West and Limpopo.
“It is not surprising a new variant has been detected in SA,” said Puren.
“Although the data is limited, our experts are working overtime with all the established surveillance systems to understand the new variant and what the potential implications could be. Developments are occurring at a rapid pace and the public has our assurance we will keep them up to date.”
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