A medical staffer holds up a phone in front of a Covid-19 patient for a video call with relatives at Bergamo's Papa Giovanni XXIII hospital, northern Italy, Friday, April 3, 2020. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.(Claudio Furlan/LaPresse via AP)
A medical staffer holds up a phone in front of a Covid-19 patient for a video call with relatives at Bergamo's Papa Giovanni XXIII hospital, northern Italy, Friday, April 3, 2020. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.(Claudio Furlan/LaPresse via AP)

Govt commits to providing personal protective equipment for healthworkers

By Zintle Mahlati Time of article published Apr 3, 2020

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Johannesburg - Deputy Health Minister Joe Phaahla says healthcare workers both in the private and public sector will be provided with personal protective equipment following trade union Nehawu's threats of legal action.

Nehawu had threatened to approach the courts to force the government to provide essential protective gear for healthcare workers as information emerged that there was a growing shortage of gloves and masks. 

The union was concerned that workers were being put at risk as they were at the frontline of fighting the Covid-19 coronavirus while treating patients.

So far, the country's case numbers had surpassed the 1500 mark at 1505. Seven people have so far died from the virus, Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize confirmed on Friday. The country is in a 21-day lockdown to try and curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Phaahla explained, at a media briefing on the implementation of lockdown regulations, that the country had a shortage of health equipment because production had declined from China, which was the epicentre for the coronavirus and saw businesses close down operations. 

He said the government would be engaging with Nehawu. He said the performance of the rand had also added issues with procuring equipment.

Relief for small business 

The Minister of Small Business Development, Khumbuzo Ntshavheni said the department had received over 2000 applications for debt support from small businesses. 

She said since the site for registering small enterprises had opened 810 000 small businesses had applied to confirm their registration. She said registering was not an application for funding and that small business should fill in applications for debt relief. 

Small business should visit the following website; www.smmesa.gov.za

Ntshavheni said foreign-owned spaza shops were allowed to operate but the owners would have to show proof of legal entry and stay in South Africa. 

She said relief support for spaza shop owners would be opened at a later stage as process dealing with the first stream of small business registrations was being handled. 

Political Bureau

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