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Human destruction of our planet to blame for pandemics - Nzimande

The minister warned that if people didn’t start protecting the planet more pandemics were likely to follow.

FILE: Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology Blade Nzimande at an inter-ministerial briefing in Pretoria on 24 March 2020. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/EWN.

KEMPTON PARK - Higher Education, Science and Technology Minister Blade Nzimande on Saturday said the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic was caused by the human destruction of the environment.

Nzimande warned that if people didn’t start protecting the planet more pandemics were likely to follow. Globally, COVID-19 has infected over one million people with the number expected to rise sharply.

The minister was speaking in Ekurhuleni where 76 students repatriated from China last month were given the green light to go home.

Nzimande said while defeating the coronavirus was imperative, there was a bigger fight ahead. He said the pandemic was a direct result of the destruction of the planet.

“The way we treat our forests [and] environment that has a lot to do with them [pandemics]. If we don’t protect our environment as we fight COVID-19, some of our scientists tell us that we're still going to have more pandemics. I hope that we take that to heart,” Nzimande said.

“The call that I am making is that we must as we fight COVID-19, do all that we can to save our planet. We have no other planet to migrate to. We only have planet Earth; there is no other planet,” he added.

Nzimande also warned the students recently released from quarantine to play their role in creating solutions to fight future outbreaks.

The minister said his comments were not to scare people but rather to caution against the disregard of protecting the environment.

For official information about COVID-19 from the Department of Health, please click here.

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