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Update on coronavirus pandemic

Statements and reports published 

Report on ASSAf’s Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

ASSAf Statement on the Implications of Novel Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19) in South Africa

Cameroon Statement

COVID-19 Update: Engagement with Minister, Deputy Minister, NICD & MECs

ASSAf Membership responses to COVID-19

How South Africa’s health system could take a hit from pandemic lawsuits, article co-authored by Prof Keymanthri Moodley -   

This is an opportunity for our universities to regain credibility : By Professor Francis Petersen

Professor Imraan Valodia : A new, fairer economy is possible, but that would mean sacrifice

Professor Bavesh Kana and Dr Bhavna Gordhan have harvested live coronavirus for validating tests

ASSAf Members, Profs Jacek Banasiak and Jean Lubuma are part of a team of UP mathematicians that has developed a website for communication of mathematical analysis of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19

Prof Jonathan Jansen – opinion piece on schools reopening:

#ListenToTheExperts Prof Helen Rees, Exec Director, Wits RHI tells us about the solidarity trial - - Glenda Gray interview on 702 Shabir Madhi interview on 702

ASSAf Member, Prof Qingguo Wang is part of the Institute of Intelligent Systems team at UJ that is developing an alternative solution to ensure compliance with social distancing, a 'pandemic drone'

COVID19 'Deciding whose lives really matter in a pandemic' - a thought provoking commentary in the Mail & Guardian. Co-authored by ASSAf Member & 2019 Gold Medal recipient Prof Leslie Swartz, distinguished professor of psychology at Stellenbosch University

South Africa’s COVID-19 strategy needs updating: here’s why and how – co-authored by Profs Imraan Valodia & Shabir Madhi

The Covid-19 crisis: Our winter of despair could become a spring of hope - column by Prof Saleem Badat

President Ramaphosa’s latest announcement on the lockdown is too little, too late. Profs Wim de Villiers & Eugene Cloete

An interview with Prof Shabir Madhi @WitsUniversity on the #COVID19 pandemic, the futility of the current #lockdown, schoolchildren & many other burning issues

Jean B. Nachega, Shaheen Mehtar and Wolfgang Preiser give an overview of Covid-19 across the continent, Africa Health journal, April 2020

Co-authored by Prof Shabir Madhi – ‘Reopening: A shared responsibility of education departments & stakeholders’. The authors argue that the certainty that is required by learners, parents and communities — and the public in general — is the confidence that the education authorities and stakeholders, particularly teacher unions, have worked together to take all of the necessary steps to ensure the safety of teachers, workers, and learners at schools.

Behavioural science and its potential to guide our response to Covid-19 - By Mark Tomlinson and Taryn Young -

#lockdown Are both both men & women’s family roles being given “equal time” for the first time? Prof Jenny Hoobler, professor of Human Resource Management @UPTuks "Gender equality gets a boost from the new normal"

Contact tracing during the COVID-19 pandemic: Protection of personal information in South Africa – a review co-authored by Prof Michael Pepper 

Prof. Shabir Madhi on MyHealthTV- Covid-19 and the re-opening of schools: Prof. Madhi talks us through the latest developments and information around Covid-19 (as of 8 May 2020) and how it will affect the re-opening of schools, school children and teachers.

Prof Lise Korsten and Prof Lucky Mathebula - Discussing food sovereignty in a COVID-19 world:

Profs Stephanie Burton and Michael Pepper: Lockdowns and research: what we lost and what we stand to gain.

Prof Shabir Madhi: 'It is time for the government to realise there is nothing more it can do. It is up to SA citizens to now take responsibility'. Covid-19 webinar discussion - Has South Africa taken the correct course of action in the fight against Covid-19? Have we made the most of lockdown? Should our schools now reopen? Are we testing enough and tracing properly? As we enter the third month of the National State of Disaster, how should we pivot our response? What should we be doing better or differently?

Co-authored by Prof Shabir Madhi: South Africa’s COVID-19 testing strategy needs urgent fixing: here’s how to do it.

Webinar on: COVID-19 and Africa's Higher Education System: What is going on? Moderated by Prof Ahmed Bawa. One of the panellists is Prof Adam Habib, also an ASSAf Member -

Review on public transport and risk of transmission –

What should public transport look like -

Prof Keertan Dheda was invited to contribute to a special COVID-19 issue of the “Wits Journal of Clinical Medicine”.  or

Adam Habib: South Africa must deal with what haunts it when pandemic is over

Impact of school closures on education outcomes in South Africa, article by Crain Soudien -

 Prof Lynn Morris, Interim Executive Director: NICD participates in a webinar organised by Nigeria Health Watch – Innovation in the global fight against Covid-19

A Covid-19 related blog co-authored by ASSAf Council member, Prof Sabiha Essack titled: Global call to healthcare providers treating COVID-19 patients to implement diagnostic stewardship/microbial diagnostics and exercise prudence in prescribing antibiotics

Prof C Wiysonge published an article in Think Global Health, titled South Africa’s War on Covid-19 He also co-authored this Lancet commentary, as part of the COVID-19 Clinical Research Coalition: Global coalition to accelerate COVID-19 clinical research in resource-limited settings

Article by Prof S Kagee: and and 1 radio interview:

Prof Irma Eloff: an interview on eNCA about 'Teaching children about Covid-19'

Prof Wolfgang Preiser: A paper in the World Complexity Science Academy Journal (WCSAJ) and an interview on Carte Blanche that was aired on 3 May:

Commentary by Prof Alan Christoffels: SA’s first SARS-COV-2 genome sequence and analysis - REFLECTIONS

Webinar with Ann Bernstein, Executive Director of CDE on Covid-19: ‘Unlocking’ South Africa’s economy - different perspectives (Fri, 8 May). Register here to watch the recording on demand:

Prof Calie Pistorius - launched an open access public e-journal, exploring the strategic impact as well as short and longer term risks, threats and opportunities presented by the COVID-19 pandemic

Prof Kgethi Phakeng is interviewed on ScienceBusiness on: COVID-19 is ushering in a new way to do research and teaching

Prof Danny Bradlow: An article titled Vultures, doves and African debt: here’s a way out

Prof Imraan Valodia: An article on What should South Africa’s coronavirus endgame look like? Here are some options

An article co-authored by Profs Bob Scholes and Guy Midgley: The science to policy process that was developed to guide climate mitigation decisions can be applied to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, without having to be reinvented: Choices in a fog of uncertainty: lessons for coronavirus from climate change

Prof Keyan Tomaselli: Involved in an entertainment education project – A digital comic story for children and their parents on the lockdown. The animated version is here:

You can't swap a teacher for homeschooling - Prof Jonathan Jansen

Scrap school year and pass all learners – Professor Jonathan Jansen

Can the philosophy of ubuntu help provide a way to face health crises? Prof Lenore Manderson

COVID-19 shows that where there is political will there is a way to work across sectors, article co-authored by Prof Sharon Fonn -

Sheer volume of misinformation risks diverting focus from fighting coronavirus, article by Profs Michael Pepper and Stephanie Burton -

Limiting the spread of COVID-19 in Africa: one size mitigation strategies do not fit all countries - The Lancet Global Health
Profs Wolfgang Preiser & Jen Nachega

Prof Charles Feldman in the Division of Pulmonology, Department of Internal Medicine at Wits interrogates the aggravating issue of South Africa’s additional burdens of HIV and tuberculosis and the risk of COVID-19 infection in HIV-positive patients.

‘Fake news’ and COVID19 How have we performed? - ASSAf Member Prof Herman Wasserman assesses the media, government & public’s performance on reporting & sharing the facts on COVID19. Prof Wasserman is professor of Media Studies & Director of the Centre for Film and Media Studies University of Cape Town Access the full article

Isolation and quarantine in South Africa during COVID-19: Draconian measures or proportional response?

Critical care triaging in the shadow of COVID-19: Ethics considerations

Diagnosis of COVID-19 : considerations, controversies and challenges in South Africa, Wits Journal of Clinical Medicine 

Global Health in the Covid-19 Era: Tackling the Real Issues

#Coronavirus risks forcing SA to make health trade-offs it can ill afford, article co-authored by Prof Karen Hofman - "if routine immunisation is not classified as an essential service there will likely be severe consequences".

Lockdowns threaten children’s nutrition: why extra care is needed, article co-authored by Prof Julian May - the nutritional shocks on young children whose families have lost their income as a result of the #lockdown may have long lasting effects.

What post-lockdown strategy should SA follow to contain the #COVID19 outbreak? ASSAf Members Imraan Valodia & Shabir Madhi amongst academics who argue for prioritising of mass testing & contact tracing for best chance of saving SA's health & economy.

“The South African Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic” - From a data perspective (Speaker: Prof Salim Abdool Karim 

This morning UKZN’s Big Data and Informatics team hosted a Q&A webinar with Prof Karim where he answered questions based on his presentation on eNCA on Monday, 13 April.

Today’s UKZN webinar – 65 minutes:  

Summarised version of Prof Karim’s eNCA presentation on 13 April – 10 minutes:

Complete version of his eNCA presentation on 13 April – 58 minutes:  

Data@Breakfast is an initiative of the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) Big Data and Informatics Research Flagship. 

Why Sisyphus comes to mind in my daily struggles against coronavirus  

Will South Africa run out of food during the coronavirus lockdown? Will South Africa run out of food during the coronavirus lockdown?  

HSRC investigates impact of COVID-19 on health workers

HSRC, university investigating impact of Covid-19 on health workers

‘Flocking’: UP academic’s research forms basis of psychosocial support organisation’s drive to provide hope during COVID-19

Summary of briefing by Prof Salim Abdool Kariem:

Lockdowns threaten childrens’ nutrition: why extra care is needed

Covid-19 could be with us potentially for years

ASSAf Member, Prof Salim Abdool Karim in a webinar with Daily Maverick, discusses South Africa's response to the Covid-19 pandemic - 

“Public health isn’t just about dealing with the crisis in front of us now. We have to be thinking about the future,” said Prof Alan Christoffels, chair in bioinformatics and human health genomes at the South African Research Chairs Initiative.

Article by Prof Danny Bradlow

Article by ASSAf member, Prof Brenda Wingfield

Professors Sehaam Khan and Saurabh Sinha recently penned an opinion article published in the Daily Maverick on 6 April 2020.  or

Tough choices about who gets ICU access (Keymanthri Moodley):

Professor Helen Rees was invited on SABC’s #TheAgenda to discuss the basics around the #coronavirus outbreak on 5th April 2020.

Professor Shabir Madhi delivered a presentation on tackling COVID-19 to the Wits University Council on Friday, 3 April 2020.

COVID-19 101: Q&A with Prof Ed Rybicki -

Covid-19: Bold programmes are needed to mitigate the economic crisis, Prof Imraan Valodia -

Yes, washing our hands really can help curb the spread of coronavirus, Prof Karen Hofman-

No evidence to suggest pregnant women are more prone to contracting COVID-19, interview with Prof Shabir Madhi - 

Whither Covid-19? An interview with SA’s chief virus hunter, Prof Lynn Morris -

ASSAf Member, Prof Helen Rees is one of 2 Wits researchers who are coordinating the enrolment of Covid-19 positive patients at 14 hospitals countrywide in an international clinical trial launched by the World Health Organisation which will compare the safety and effectiveness of four different drugs or drug combinations against Covid-19. The trial will begin in the next two weeks. Read more:

ASSAf Member, Prof Murray Leibbrandt, co-authored the article below titled South Africa can – and should – top up child support grants to avoid a humanitarian crisis. Prof Leibbrant is Pro-Vice Chancellor, Poverty and Inequality; NRF Chair in Poverty and Inequality Research; and Director of the Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.

ASSAf Member & Pro Vice-Chancellor for Big Data and Informatics at UKZN, Prof Francesco Petruccione, hosts a monthly data@breakfast seminar series. He decided to go online with the series and use it to share information on COVID-19.On the first day of the lockdown, some 200 particpants tuned in to listen to a highly topical and clear presentation by UKZN COVID-19 ‘war room’ member, Dr Richard Lessells. Lessells’s talk tackled the issue of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, and provided both a local and global perspective. Read more & watch the video recording of Prof Lessell’s talk here:

ASSAf Member, Prof Wolfgang Preiser, Head of the Division of Medical Virology Stellenbosch University & NHLS Tygerberg & his clinical colleagues have had 2 letters on #COVID-19 accepted by The South African Medical Journal, SAMJ. The letters relate to socialdistancing & optimising the influenza vaccination to reduce the risk of a ‘double hit’.  

Covid 19 - SciELO

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7

Statements published by the South African Young Academy of Sciences

The South African Young Academy of Science (SAYAS) translated the general health messaging around the virus into the local languages from English. These are in Sepedi, Tshivenda, Afrikaans, isiXhosa, isiZulu, Sesotho, Northern Sesotho, siSwati and Xitsonga and a few more for dominant migrant groupings in SA - Shona, Swahili, Portuguese, Lingala and French. These have been disseminated mainly online through SAYAS social media platforms -Twitter and Facebook feeds and by SAYAS members. Access these at: 

In their own personal capacities, various SAYAS members have written informative articles on the impact of the virus:
Prof Alex Broadbent (University of Johannesburg) explores why a one-size-fits-all approach to COVID-19 could have lethal consequences -
A/Prof Willie Chinyamurindi (University of Fort Hare) writes on Five ways academics can manage COVID-19 shutdowns -

The Global Young Academy (GYA) released a global message from young scientists on COVID-19. It delivers specific recommendations for governments, the public, and young researchers Access:


Statement on COVID-19 – 


Statements by other stakeholders

Find the link to the survey on COVID-19:


Science Diplomacy Covid Presentation

COVID-19: to test or not to test, article by Dr Doyin Odubanjo, Executive Secretary, Nigerian Academy of Science (NAS) -

The biggest threats to Nigeria managing COVID-19: panic, politics and indecision, article by Dr Doyin Odubanjo Executive Secretary, Nigerian Academy of Science (NAS)-

OWSD-SA member and Stellenbosch University researcher, Caroline Pule joins CrowdFight Covid-19 initiative -

CSIR (entity of DSI), has been commissioned by the DoH to set up a COVID-19 data platform/warehouse to monitor the current geographic spread of the disease, current cases, health vulnerabilities, and location of health and other facilities, among others.

The Conversation - Why do we feel so driven to help each other

Department of Health - Corona Training Slides

IAP Covid_Communique





Five ways academics can manage COVID-19 shutdowns-

 In the fight against coronavirus, antivirals are as important as a vaccine. Here’s where the science is up to-

New smaller coronavirus testing kits 'could deliver quicker results

Senegal: 10-minute coronavirus test may be on its way - for $1-

Mobilising resources against the COVID-19 pandemic -

Coronavirus: first person injected with trial vaccine -

South Africans stuck in Peru lockdown told to ‘hang in there’ -

UP MakerSpace Centre producing 3D visor frames for facial shields for healthcare workers -

Four major international data organizations join forces to optimize the research data ecosystem, launching a COVID-19 appeal as their first joint action -

Government sets up a COVID-19 situational analysis system -

Chinese Enterprises and Communities in South Africa Donates Cash and Kind to Firmly Support South Africa Fighting Against the COVID-19 -

Trial drug can significantly block early stages of COVID-19 in engineered human tissues -