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MAC's Dr Glenda Gray clarifies her comments about lockdown regulations

18 May 2020 9:25 AM
Tags:
COVID-19
LockdownSA
Ministerial Advisory Committee
Dr Glenda Gray

Gray told health dept she was referring specifically to regulations that made no sense in onward prevention of Covid infections.

Dr Glenda Gray is a member of the government's Covid-19 ministerial advisory council (MAC) and came under fire after recent comments quoted in a recent News24 article criticising the lockdown. She talks to Refilwe Moloto about the effects of the extended lockdown, how the country should proceed and clarified her comments.

I made the point that the initial lockdown and the extended lockdown was very important in slowing down the virus, and making sure that the hospitals were ready...and the lockdown bought us time to prepare the country and medical system for infections that might come.

Dr Glenda Gray, CEO - SA Medical Research Council

But now the country has moved into a new phase and she says.

Even Health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize suggested over the weekend there may be very little medical benefit of the lockdown beyond what has happened.

Dr Glenda Gray, CEO - SA Medical Research Council

So our job now is to make sure we minimise transmissions of the virus as we renter society. We do know that the coronavirus is not going to go away at the end of September.

Dr Glenda Gray, CEO - SA Medical Research Council

A coronavirus usually lasts two or three seasons, she notes.

Without a vaccine or anti-viral, we will have to coexist with this virus for at least 18 months.

Dr Glenda Gray, CEO - SA Medical Research Council

Even post-lockdown in other countries there is seepage of transmission back into the community once you ease lockdown.

Dr Glenda Gray, CEO - SA Medical Research Council

In addition, most people with Covid-19 are asymptomatic, she reiterates.

So our job is to protect the vulnerable and the elderly and those with comorbidity.

Dr Glenda Gray, CEO - SA Medical Research Council

We need to make decisions based on who is more likely to be adversely affected by Covid-19.

Dr Glenda Gray, CEO - SA Medical Research Council

Interventions and strategies need to be put in place in situations where there are elderly or vulnerable at-risk members in overcrowded homes both in rural and urban areas, she says.

There are isolation facilities, and the question is, should those also be for vulnerable people.

Dr Glenda Gray, CEO - SA Medical Research Council

The elderly also need to be protected when they queue for social grants, she adds.

Citizens have to be trusted and given the knowledge they need.

We have to empower citizens to understand the need for distancing and also to understand how the virus is transmitted.

Dr Glenda Gray, CEO - SA Medical Research Council

Dr Gray clarifies media reports over the weekend of her comment criticising continuing the lockdown.

My comment was on the regulations. I specifically commented on the regulations in that article. I said all regulations we promulgate or issue should be focused on preventing viral transmission and my comment was I fail to see how buying a bra or a garment of clothes would cause transmission.

Dr Glenda Gray, CEO - SA Medical Research Council

The overall goal of a regulation should be how do we get this sector open and avoid the transmission of the virus.

Dr Glenda Gray, CEO - SA Medical Research Council

I clarified with the health department that I emphasised that I was referring specifically about the regulations and how they did not make sense in the onward prevention of Covid infections.

Dr Glenda Gray, CEO - SA Medical Research Council

MAC has been structured to be reactive meaning the council waits for questions and then provides advice, she explains.

At the meeting on Saturday night, we proposed that we become more proactive so that there is more engagement and become a more proactive committee.

Dr Glenda Gray, CEO - SA Medical Research Council

Listen to the interview below:


18 May 2020 9:25 AM
Tags:
COVID-19
LockdownSA
Ministerial Advisory Committee
Dr Glenda Gray

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