An international perspective on COVID-19: Adaptation and resilience to the new normal webinar held
The Western Cape Department Local Government held a Disaster Management Advisory Forum webinar on Wednesday, 4 November 2020 on ‘An international perspective on COVID-19: Adaptation and resilience to the new normal’. This second webinar included presentations from Colin Deiner, head of centre at the Western Cape Disaster Management Centre as well as presentations by various representatives from São Paulo State in Brazil, Malaysia and Peru, sharing their COVID-19 coordination and response experiences as well as key lessons learnt in the context of the new normal. The event included a welcoming address from Graham Paulse, head of Western Cape Government: Department Local Government and was co-facilitated by Jacqueline Pandaram, director disaster operations at the Western Cape Disaster Management Centre.
Deiner shared South Africa’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic to date, including its timeline since the first case reported, South Africa’s risk adjusted strategy, current statistics and shared the Western Cape’s response strategy, its preplanning phase and objectives, humanitarian and economic response, transformation and adaptation and their current focus, which is the prevention of the second wave. He shared the benefits of the recently installed technology at the Western Cape Disaster Management Centre, the Uniti software system, which was installed prior to lockdown and assisted greatly in the management of the COVID-19 response. Deiner also shared their identified interventions for the short, medium and long term, the opportunities to adapt and innovate and the way forward, saying “The Western Cape remain committed to flatten the curve and is in a state of readiness to deal with any second wave of infections.”
Lt Col Rodrigo Quintino of São Paulo State Civil Defence in Brazil shared their COVID-19 statistics, coordination and response experiences and said, “The establishment of the Centre for Humanitarian Logistics (CILogH), played a major role in the initial response as it allowed for the raising, storing and distributing of supplies to the population and alleviated supply chain management challenges.”
Sapian Bin Mamat, senior assistant director at the operations coordination section at the Prime Ministers Department of the Malaysia National Disaster Management Agency (NADMA) shared their coordination, responses, challenges, lessons learnt and adaptation to the new normal, saying, “There is a need for enhancement of collaboration and an improvement in communication plans and SOPs if we are to effectively management of large scale disaster like COVID-19. He added, “We need to appeal to the public that compliance to the new normal is pivotal in the fight against this global pandemic.”
María Lorena Bustamante Durán, acting deputy director of Resource Management for Response at the National Institute of Civil Defence (INDECI) in Peru shared Peru’s institutional arrangements, response and recovery, statistics and current situation, saying, “The country is currently implementing a ‘Phase 4’ economic recovery plan, which entails lowering restrictions by increasing the capacity levels of restaurants and other economically stimulating actives, although they are still in a state of emergency. She added, “Effective coordination and interinstitutional arrangements are pivotal to successfully respond to disaster of this nature.”
The webinar put the global pandemic in perspective as well as South Africa’s response and management of this health disaster. One thing is for sure, we are in this together and there is no place in the recovery and way forward for complacency nor ignorance.
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