Professor Salim Abdool Karim who led the South African Ministerial Advisory Committee in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic has complemented President Cyril Ramaphosa on showing decisive leadership.
Speaking in a webinar, Abdool Karim says that most of the advisory committee’s recommendations were implemented by the government once a good database was set up by the middle of 2020.
Karim, however, warns that South Africa no longer has very good data on the pandemic.
According to him, millions of vaccine doses had to be destroyed because they had reached their expiry date, and fewer people are getting vaccinated.
“So because we are not testing as much, we don’t know what the number of cases is. And because we are not testing as much, we don’t have very good data on our variant. And then finally, the government had this terrific database called DATCOV which counted all the admissions. And that was being funded by an external donor. That donor was not renewed, as they were not approached to renew the funding. So that funding fell away and DATCOV doesn’t exist anymore. So now we don’t even know how many patients are admitted with COVID-19,” says Abdool Karim.