ACTIVATE! Change Drivers responds to the COVID-19 pandemic

Dear Activators,

We are living through a moment that will define the outcome for a healthy society. This requires that all of us pull together. We want to thank the South African government, led by President Cyril Ramaphosa, for displaying decisive leadership and communicating in a clear manner. It is now up to all of us to emulate his leadership in our local spaces. ACTIVATE! Change Drivers (ACD) is a civil society organisation and we heed Health Minister Mkhize’s call to support this crucial moment in our society. As such we are calling on all our Activators in the network to exercise cooperation, collaboration and common action in dealing with the pandemic. 

In light of the above, the following contingency measures have been put in place to ensure the safety of our Network, ACD participants and staff. 

  • The ACD training programme Intake 1 (initially scheduled: 28 Mar to 04 Apr) and Intake 2 (initially scheduled:25 April to 02 May) will be postponed until further notice. Intake 3 & 4 is currently still going ahead as scheduled. For further information please call our Logistics team on 061 443 7879 OR 063 326 2087 (queries will be dealt with between 08h30 and 16h30 Monday to Fri) OR 


  • All face-to-face network activities i.e. hackathons and Imbizos will be postponed until further notice. We will adhere to the President’s recommendations to exercise social distancing and therefore discourage the congregating of groups. We encourage Activators and all sectors to use online platforms for engagement like the marketplace, webinars, WhatsApp conversations, social media, etc. Further communication about these events will happen via WhatsApp and social media. For more information contact the relevant sector coordinator.


  • All visits to the ACTIVATE! offices are now canceled until further notice. The office contact numbers will, however, be operational during office hours – Cpt -0878204873 – Jhb – 0878204874 – Durban 0878204875. 


  • Activators are encouraged to inform us of how they are responding to the pandemic in their communities. Send your stories to

Tips to keep yourself safe:

  • Social distancing (Minimising unnecessary contact in medium to large groups)
  • Washing your hands frequently for more than 20 seconds with soap or hand sanitizer
  • Coughing into your elbow

We would like to reiterate President Ramaphosa’s words: “Fellow South Africans, this epidemic will pass. But it is up to us to determine how long it will last, how damaging it will be, and how long it will take our economy and our country to recover. It is true that we are facing a grave emergency. But if we act together, if we act now, and if we act decisively, we will overcome it.” 

We encourage people to access the official sites listed below to combat “fake news” and unverified information.

For more information, please go to the following websites:


What is COVID-19?

Human Coronaviruses are common throughout the world. There are many different coronaviruses identified in animals but only a small number of these can cause disease in humans.

On 7 January 2020, ‘Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2’ (SARS-CoV-2) was confirmed as the causative agent of ‘Coronavirus Disease 2019’ or COVID-19. The majority of the case-patients initially identified were dealers and vendors at seafood, poultry and live wildlife market in China. Since then, the virus has spread to more than 100 countries, including South Africa.

 Who is most at risk?

Currently, travellers to areas where there is an ongoing sustained transmission of COVID-19 including Mainland China (all provinces), Hong Kong, Japan, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Vietnam, Taiwan, Italy and the Islamic Republic of Iran are at greatest risk of infection.

Furthermore, the elderly, individuals with co-morbidities and healthcare workers have been found to be at a higher risk of death.

 How is it transmitted?

While the first cases probably involved exposure to an animal source, the virus now seems to be spreading from person-to-person.

The spread of the disease is thought to happen mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza and other respiratory pathogens spread. Thus far, the majority of cases have occurred in people with close physical contact to cases and healthcare workers caring for patients with COVID-19.

 What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Current symptoms reported for patients with COVID-19 have included mild to severe respiratory illness with cough, sore throat, shortness of breath or fever.

The complete clinical picture with regard to COVID-19 is still not fully clear. Reported illnesses have ranged from infected people with little to no symptoms to people being severely ill and dying.

 How is COVID-19 treated?

Treatment is supportive (providing oxygen for patients with shortness of breath or treating a fever, for example). To date, there is no specific antiviral treatment available. Antibiotics do not treat viral infections. However, antibiotics may be required if a bacterial secondary infection develops.

 How can you prevent infection?

The following can provide protection against infection from Coronaviruses and many other viruses that are more common in South Africa:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay at home when you are sick and try and keep a distance from others at home.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a flexed elbow or a tissue, then throw the tissue in the bin.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

 What we are doing in South Africa?

Fever screenings are in place at international airports. If there is a suspected case, procedures are in place for case isolation as well as rapid specimen collection and transport so that the diagnosis can quickly be made. Suspected cases will be managed at designated hospitals with isolation facilities. Protocols are in place for follow up of case contacts to ensure that the virus does not spread.

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