President Cyril Ramaphosa and World Health Organisation Director General, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, are expected to address a virtual national conference on COVID-19 on Friday.
Hosted by the Higher Education, Science and Innovation Minister, Dr Blade Nzimande and Health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize respectively, the conference will bring together scientists, governments, business and civil society from all over the world in open discussion towards a greater understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on society and the economy.
The conference will focus on health innovations, technologies, and social and economic sustainability during and after the pandemic.
The platform comes as COVID-19 cases increase rapidly across the globe.
There is also growing pressure to develop new diagnostic tools and treatment regimes, while the burden on health resources and economies remains high.
The conference will comprise three panel discussions. The panel on health research will discuss health innovation in support of COVID-19 (therapeutics, diagnostics, testing and tracking). It will also consider research experiences and research collaboration in managing COVID-19 and pandemics in general.
The two other panels will focus on data modelling and analysis in managing COVID-19, and on the socio-economic impact of the disease and possibilities for economic recovery.
Panellists include the Ministerial Advisory Committee on COVID-19 Chairperson Professor Salim Abdool Karim, African Union Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology Professor Sarah Agbor, among others.
The conference will take place under the theme "Harnessing science, technology and innovation in response to COVID-19: A national and international effort."