Since its outbreak in December 2019, COVID-19 has spread exponentially, and was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on 11 March 2020. The Southern African Development Community (SADC) recorded its first case of COVID-19 in early March, and since then, the numbers have been increasing. As of 15th April, 2020, fourteen (14) of the sixteen (16) SADC Member States have been affected by COVID-19 – Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
In addition to the measures put in place by Member States, SADC has put, and will continue putting in place regional measures that are critical in responding to the COVID-19. So far, SADC has undertaken ten (10) regional coordinated actions to contain the spread of COVID-19 and mitigate its social and economic impacts on the region. These regional actions can be found on this link: SADC regional response to COVID-19.pdf
These regional actions pertain to strengthening Disaster Risk Management; suspension of regional face-to-face meetings; coordinating and monitoring the implementation of the SADC Protocol on Health, utilization of the SADC Pooled Procurement Services for pharmaceuticals and medical supplies and the adoption of regional Guidelines on Harmonisation and Facilitation of Cross Border Transport Operations across the Region during the COVID-19.
Other actions include, mobilisation of regional support towards containment and mitigation of the socio-economic impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the SADC region; and partnering with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to ensure continuity of education and learning programmes. The SADC Secretariat is also monitoring and analysing the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 on SADC economies as well as providing weekly Regional Status reports and daily updates on the status of COVID-19 in the region.