With police and soldiers securing the critical N3 artery, truckloads of critical medical supplies and pharmaceuticals are beginning to roll from Gauteng to KwaZulu-Natal once more.
The relief effort has been boosted by “unprecedented co-operation” between the private and public sectors, restoring hopes that the vaccine rollout will soon be back on track, said Business for SA health working group chairperson Stavros Nicolaou.
“B4SA has worked closely with government to ensure the protection of oxygen supplies through police escorts, protection for medical and pharmaceutical warehouses, co-ordination and transportation of urgent medical supplies,” said Nicolaou.
The business group was helping to co-ordinate police protection for pharmaceutical warehouses and distribution centres as well as for trucks needing escorts or support.
Companies needing escorts needed to contact the authorities with their truck’s make, registration number and the driver’s name the night before departure.
Police would continue to escort trucks carrying oxygen.
Nicolaou said B4SA would continue to monitor and update vaccine site functionality daily “although the vaccine rollout continues to be both robust and resilient”.
Meanwhile, a fund was being set up to help independent pharmacies get back on their feet by restoring their destroyed businesses and tracking down medical records.
“Unfortunately, during these acts of random looting , scheduled medicines have been stolen, increasing the risk of now compromised medicines potentially finding their way to patients,” he said.
Nicolaou urged people not to buy or use medicines that were not from accredited and authentic sources and to report information on stolen medicines to the police.