President Ramaphosa impressed by the National COVID-19 Information Response Centre hosted at CSIR

Publication Date: 
Thursday, April 9, 2020 - 00:00

President Cyril Ramaphosa visited the COVID-19 Information Centre, a data centre set up to monitor and track the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country. Read more...

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President Cyril Ramaphosa visited the COVID-19 Information Centre, a data centre set up to monitor and track the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country. The centre, which is housed in a secure facility at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), in Pretoria, provides close to real-time analytics and dashboards on the Coronavirus outbreak per province, district, local municipality and ward.

A particularly useful capability is the mobile visualisation platform, the Cmore App, used by community health workers to record screening data and symptoms, and transmit information to the centre. It enables near-live display of the Household Screening and Testing Programme.

The data and insights generated by the centre are a significant input for decision-making by the National Coronavirus Command Council chaired by the President.

While there, the President was also briefed on other projects that the CSIR is working on to support the immediate needs of South Africa in curbing the spread of COVID-19.

Speaking during the visit, President Ramaphosa praised the CSIR for the work it is doing to support the country in curbing the spread of COVID-19.

"As a nation, we should be proud that we have an institution like the CSIR, which is always trying to be ahead of the curve in terms of bringing solutions for the nation to utilise." He gave words of encouragement to staff working at the centre, saying that they are the “unsung heroes” and that the work they are doing is world class

“I am delighted to have come here because this is a platform that enables the nation to deal with COVID-19 in a technological and scientific way. I am hugely impressed to see how we are able to look at the entire country and see how we can get data about the incidents of Coronavirus infection throughout the country, through this facility,” said the President.

The Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation (HESI), Dr Blade Nzimande, also commended the leadership of the organisation for stepping up in an effort to fight against COVID-19 by providing scientific and technological solutions in dealing with this pandemic.

“In heeding the call to develop measures to contain the spread of the pandemic, the Minister of Health approached the Ministry of HESI very early when the first cases of COVID-19 were reported in South Africa to assist with developing a system that could be used to assist in managing the spread of the virus. This request was welcomed by the CSIR. He thanked the CEO and the chairperson of the Board for welcoming it.

Dr Nzimande, praising the CSIR for the work it was doing on the data platform, noted that "behind this platform is a set of competencies that include epidemiological modelling, data analytics, high-performance computing and data visualisation. These are important investments that the DSI has been making over a number of years to ensure that we have an innovation-enabled developmental state."

Deputy Minister of Health Dr Joe Phaahla thanked the President for his visit, saying it was a huge motivation to the staff working at the centre. COVID-19 was a very real and serious enemy, Dr Phaahla said, and partnerships would be crucial for the country to win the war against it.

For more information on the visit click on the links below: