Editorial: Social work perspectives of the novel Coronavirus disease (covid-19)

  • Langton Mundau
  • Chamunorwa Nyoni
Keywords: Africa, corona virus, COVID-19, social work, pandemic, policy, poverty


The novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2 which causes coronavirus disease (COVID-19) was first reported in Wuhan, China towards the end of 2019. The flue like condition spread rapidly. To contain the condition, several measures were put in place including but not limited to social or physical distancing, quarantine or isolation, lockdowns, travel restrictions, wearing of masks and personal protective clothing (PPE). Services moved to online/remote delivery where feasible. Those who fell ill were isolated but some required emergency hospital management, including supply of oxygen using respirators in emergency care units. When we made the call for this special issue in May 2020, the virus had killed over 350 000 people, infected over 5.5 million people in 215 countries with over 2.4 million recoveries. By the time of publication in December 2020, the virus had killed over 1,5 million people, infected over 68 million people in 215 countries with over 44 million recoveries. For Africa, infections stood at 2.2 million people with recorded deaths of 54,500. What could be the role of social work in particular, and social science in general during and after the  pandemic, and in dealing with pandemics in future? Surely, the pandemic relates to developmental, indigenous, decolonial but also international and clinical social work as well as human rights, governance, culture, spirituality and other elements important for African social work. But we needed to find out more from African writers so a call for manuscripts for a special issue on COVID-19 was released. The response was  overwhelming. Thirty-six abstracts were accepted. A decision was made to release two special issues, and this one is the first one. The major themes emerging from this special issue are the implications of COVID-19 on social policy, disability, teaching and learning, spirituality, occupational safety and mental health. We hope, you will find the papers presented here timely, informative and interesting.

Key terms: Africa, corona virus, COVID-19, social work, pandemic, policy, poverty


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2409-5605
print ISSN: 1563-3934