An additional 12 000 healthcare workers needed to fight coronavirus - Ramaphosa
Johannesburg - President Cyril Ramaphosa says the country’s healthcare system is under pressure with a shortage of 12 000 healthcare workers as the coronavirus continues to spread and cases rise.
Ramaphosa addressed the nation on Sunday night. He said the nation would remain on level 3 of the risk-adjusted lockdown, but this would continue under tighter regulations.
So far, the country has recorded over 276 000 cases of the coronavirus.
Ramaphosa said the national lockdown introduced in March had helped gather much-needed resources to help boost the country’s healthcare system. It had also enabled the gathering of hospital bed capacity with 37 000 beds available for use and the addition of 1 700 ventilators. Additional ventilators would be supplied as 12 000 were under production and should be delivered by July and August.
He said over 20 million people had been screened for the coronavirus with some being recommended for testing.
But the president has also highlighted the challenges being faced by the healthcare system with a shortage of 12,000 healthcare workers which included nurses and doctors.
He said as some areas, especially in rural areas, have been experiencing strain, patients have had to be sent to other areas. The issue of testing was being monitored and efforts were underway to ensure that tests would be returned within 48 hours.
Ramaphosa said the country’s death percentage was still low at 1,5% and he said this was owed to the work being done by healthcare professionals.
In an aim to boost the work being done by healthcare workers and to reduce the strain, the president also announced an immediate ban on alcohol sales and the introduction of a curfew.
He said these measures were necessary to ensure that hospitals would not be overburdened with alcohol-related trauma cases. When alcohol sales were unbanned on June 1, there were multiple reports of healthcare professionals reporting a rise in trauma cases.
The country was predicted to see 40,000 deaths by November according to scientific modelling. But Ramaphosa said it was possible to avoid these numbers with proper caution and adherence to regulations.
The country’s provinces were expected to peak at different rates between August and September.