Africa Unite’s Plan in times of COVID-19

Press Release                                                                                                                                            For Immediate Release

South Africa is the country in sub-Saharan Africa most affected by the COVID-19 virus with 150 cases currently identified (March 19th). No deaths have yet been recorded but according to international statistics it is only a matter of time for the first death to be confirmed.

On Sunday, March 15th, President Ramaphosa gave a national address regarding COVID-19. He explained the measures South Africa will take to prevent further spread of COVID-19. The most pressing changes are the closure of schools and universities from March 18th – April 14th, implementing travel-bans from high risk countries and prohibiting events and gatherings with more than 100 people.

In response to the President’s address, Africa Unite has decided to implement the following: For the closure period of schools, Africa Unite is putting its School Club Programme on temporary hold. This includes postponing the annual Leadership Camp that was scheduled for March 20-24. All events and meetings, including human rights sessions will be either postponed or limited to 15-20 people until further notice. Most of our international interns will have to return to their home countries within the next couple of days but we will adjust interactions to online platforms wherever possible. Africa Unite is committed to lobbying with other organizations to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Africa Unite continues to advocate for foreign nationals and the protection of their human rights, including their right to health and safety. Refugees, asylum seekers, and other immigrants need to be protected in addition to South African citizens. Home Affairs experiences long queues with people camping outside all night to get a chance to enter. It is not safe to force people to travel long distances with public transport during these times. In regard to the spread of COVID-19 those who are traveling domestically for papers should be able to go to their nearest home affairs offices instead of where they first got registered.

Furthermore, we are promoting the following habits to prevent the spread of coronavirus:

  • Social distancing (spend less time in public spaces with lots of people including restaurants, malls, etc)
  • Greet people with a “foot-five” or elbow tap
  • Carry hand sanitizer
  • Wash hands regularly and for at least 20 seconds
  • Eat more vitamin c fruits or take multi-vitamins if you can
  • Keep windows open for fresh air
  • Cough and sneeze into elbow
  • Minimize physical contact

Health is a human right. We are in solidarity with the President’s address and doing everything in our power to promote preventative measures. Please join us in taking action to put an end to COVID-19. As President Ramaphosa said, “It is true that we are facing a grave emergency. But if we act together, if we act now, and if we act decisively, we will overcome it.”

Date of release: 20 March 2019

For more information please contact Bongeka Gumede on bongeka@africaunite.org.za

 

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