South Africa Health Ministry disbands COVID-19 advisory committee following policy tussles

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In the latest development from South Africa, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize dismissed the COVID-19 Ministerial Advisory Committee on Friday, September 25. As per News24 reports, the South African Health Minister sent wrote to members of the COVID-19 COVID-19 committee thanking them from service and said new members of the committee will be appointed soon.

The disbanding of the COVID-19 Ministerial Advisory Committee reportedly took place without any warning and is believed to have been done because of the policy clashes with the government.

Read: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani Announces Tougher COVID-19 Restrictions Amid Rising Cases

Ministerial Advisory Committee dismissed without warming

As per reports, 14 members of the committee have been confirmed to have received the letter, including South Africa’s leading COVID-19 researcher Professor Shabir Madhi and CEO of the South Africa Medical Research Council Professor Glenda Grey. The Advisory Committee was established early into the pandemic to advise the Health Minister and was chaired by Professor Salim Abdool Karim.

According to reports, Madhi and Gray along with some other members of the committee have been vocal critics of the government’s proposed actions and policies in regard to the COVID-19 pandemic. In a press release, the South African Health Minister is reported to have said that due to the changing nature of the pandemic and the way it affects society, it was necessary to bring about changes in the committee.

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As per reports, Professor Francois Venter, who was a member of the advisory committee, said that the dismissal came out of the blue and that the South African government needs to start operating with much more transparency. He is reported to have claimed the committee was dismissed because they did not always give their approval to government decisions made behind closed doors.

As per the John Hopkins coronavirus resource centre, South Africa has reported over 600,000 positive COVID-19 cases with a death toll of over 16,000. The virus, named COVID-19 by the World Health Organisation, has infected over 32 million people worldwide with the global death toll reaching over 979,000. The US has reported more than 7.2 million positive COVID-19 cases and a death toll of over 200,000.

(Image Credits: AP)

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