NATIONAL NEWS - After weeks of uncertainty and a growing panic caused by the coronavirus pandemic, which has infected at least 64 people in SA, the Cabinet yesterday swung into action by unpacking interventions government planned to take in response to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s declaration of a national disaster.
Finance Minister Tito Mboweni announced how funds would be mobilised.
Addressing a media briefing in Pretoria, Mboweni – who formed part of a panel of ministers – said funds would be redirected to beef up the coronavirus budget, residing with the health department.
“Most [intervention] activities … have to be paid for by the National Treasury coordinating working group, chaired by a deputy director-general, who will be working closely with the department of health.
“The minister of finance and provincial MECs will coordinate what needs to be done financially. Structural arrangements are in place to ensure that we do not do things in a haphazard manner.
“In setting aside further funds, we are going to reduce amounts allocated to government departments by shifting money towards Covid-19.
“We have to work hard to ensure the economy does not grind to a halt, which would mean less tax revenue,” said Mboweni.
Global liquidity during the crisis was important and government was encouraged by a decision of the US Federal Reserve in putting $1 trillion (R16.6 trillion) into the world economy.
In the latest verified cases of Covid-19, seven people tested positive in Gauteng.
Giving a clinical analysis of the virus, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said about 15% of those who developed the disease required hospitalisation.
He continued: “Most cases – about 85% – can self-quarantine at home.
“In this regard the clinicians observing the patient will make this determination and advise if they view the patient as high risk and therefore requiring hospital admission or can recover at home.”