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Facing the New Corona Virus: A conversation between Brazilian and South African Mayors





Posted: 18 June 2020

On March 11 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) as a global pandemic. The first case of the virus was reported in the city of Wuhan in China. Ever since the world has been grappling with curbing the spread of virus. While scientists across the globe working around the clock to find a vaccine against the virus the recommended preventative measures are the practice of social distancing, staying at home and going out only when it is necessary, washing of hands with soap for at least 20 seconds as well as the use of an alcohol based sanitizer.

Municipalities have an enormous role to play to ensure that communities as well as vulnerable people are provided with reliable and uninterrupted services to curb the spread of the virus. The South African Local Government Association (SALGA) and its counterpart in Brazil, Frente Nacional de Prefeitos hosts a virtual meeting to discuss the social distance measures adopted by mayors around the world in addition to other attitude that guarantee success in combating the pandemic.

The main participants of this discussion are Hildon Chaves, Mayor of Porto Velho; Guti, Mayor of Guarulhos; Geoff Makhubo, Mayor of Johannesburg and Xola Pakati, Mayor of Buffalo City.  The key focus areas to be discussed in the engagement include:

Social isolation and the resumption of activities.
- What are the main social isolation measures that your city adopted at the beginning of the pandemic and what were the main challenges encountered?
- What was taken into account when defining the resumption of activities? How were measures defined to ensure a safe return for the general population?

Lack of cohesion between the entities.
- One of the main challenges in Brazil is the lack of cohesion for adopting measures to fight the coronavirus. The president minimizes the effects of the virus while mayors and governors have adopted strict measures since the beginning of the pandemic. How are decisions made in South Africa? Has a crisis cabinet been installed between the central government, governors and mayors?

Socioeconomic measures.
- Was there financial support from the central government to assist municipalities in addressing the pandemic? If so, how were the funds received allocated?
- What were the main measures adopted in your city to mitigate the economic stagnation? Were specific policies adopted to assist the most vulnerable people and institutions?

General actions.
- In general, in relation to the measures adopted in the management of the pandemic crisis and the resumption of economic activities, what could have been done differently in South Africa

The webinar will be streamed live on the FNP facebook page /FrenteNacionaldePrefeitos
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