Readout of HHS Secretary Becerra’s Bilateral Meeting with South African Minister of Health
Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra spoke today with South African Minister of Health Mathumr Joseph Phaahla. Joined by Assistant Secretary for Global Affairs, Loyce Pace, and the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Rochelle Walensky, the Secretary conveyed his deep appreciation and admiration on behalf of the United States government to South Africa’s scientists for the quick identification of the Omicron variant. He praised South Africa’s government for its transparency in sharing this information, which is a model for the world to take swift action in alignment with international health regulations.
The Secretary acknowledged the longstanding public health cooperation between the United States and South Africa, and expressed our nation’s commitment to strengthening ongoing collaboration to tackle COVID-19 and strengthen global health security. Secretary Becerra and Minister Phaahla expressed the importance of continued partnership among the U.S., the African Union, and South Africa and other African nations confronting Omicron. The Secretary also stressed the U.S. commitment to vaccine distribution and tackling the pandemic’s impact globally to help vaccinate populations and combat the impacts of COVID-19.