In 45 BC, the Roman philosopher Cicero referred to the “Sword of Damocles” and over time this parable has come to mean a sense of impending doom, that a catastrophic threat is looming over us. In the past two months, a novel coronavirus – now known as Covid-19 – has engulfed the world and has already had an enormous impact on economic markets. To be sure, the Sword of Damocles is now hanging over countries, companies and individuals. How we respond will have far-reaching implications for our health – both personal and financial – when we emerge on the other side of this pandemic.
Last Sunday, South Africa’s president, Cyril Ramaphosa, with the backing of his cabinet and opposition parties, declared a national state of emergency and invoked a range of extraordinary interventions designed to curb the spread of the disease. Within a few days, two of CapeRay’s key shareholders – the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and the University of Cape Town (UCT) – introduced short term policies for staff to work remotely from home, to avoid unnecessary exposure, and to cancel all air travel. It is anticipated that confirmed cases of Covid-19 in South Africa will reach 200 today, with UCT having two people infected.
At CapeRay we have implemented a policy that encourages staff to wash their hands regularly with anti-septic soap, to maintain safe distances in the workplace, to hold stand-up meetings in a large ventilated area and, when showing symptoms of the virus, to work from home. Despite the setbacks associated with Covid-19, we have continued to make progress. At the beginning of the month we hired a new software engineer, Sbonelo Mntungwa (seen left), who graduated from UCT in 2018 with a BSc degree, majoring in computer science and computer engineering.
Yesterday, as part of a team building exercise to welcome Sbonelo, we returned to Pringle Bay and its iconic mountain called Hangklip – or Hanging Rock – that rises above the town and surrounding area (seen above right). This time we hiked along the coastline (seen below) of Cape Hangklip – while maintaining safe distances – and ended up at Moonlight Bay for a bracing swim in the turquoise sea.
The French expression esprit de corps conveys a sense of unity where an enterprise seeks a common interest and goal. At CapeRay we acknowledge the immediate threats posed by Covid-19, and will deal with these sensibly, but we also recognise that our major focus must be on the development of innovative methods for early detection of breast cancer. That, after all, is our company’s raison d’être.