Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize. Picture: Jairus Mmutle / GCIS
Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize. Picture: Jairus Mmutle / GCIS

13 public hospitals identified to treat coronavirus in SA, health committee told

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Mar 4, 2020

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Johannesburg - Parliament’s portfolio committee on health heard on Wednesday that 13 public hospitals had been identified to treat the deadly coronavirus in South Africa.

Up until now, there have been no confirmed cases of coronavirus in South Africa. 

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize provided an update to the committee and assured MPs that the department was prepared to deal with the virus.  

Mkhize said the 13 public hospitals identified were around the country.

He said clinicians had been trained to treat all infectious diseases.

The minister told MPs that the department had ensured that all ports of entry had screening machines and thermal screening gadgets and they had ensured that immigration officers were equipped with masks.

Health committee chairperson, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, commended the department on the strategies that it had put in place to address the virus but MPs had raised concerns about South Africa’s porous borders. 

“Working with the South African National Defence Force, arrangements are in place for those who need to be quarantined. This will take 21 days, which is in line with the estimated incubation period. 

“The minister said the South African citizens from Wuhan are not sick but need to get tested if they are positive they will be moved to designated treatment centres.

“However, some members of the committee expressed concern about the porous borders in the country and how the virus will be tackled,” said Dhlomo.

Coronavirus has affected China, South Korea, Italy and Iran the most - with those countries recording the highest infection rates. 

On the African continent, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria and Senegal have reported cases of the virus.

Said Mkhize: “We are focusing on an emergency response and preparations”. 

However, plans are in place by the department to quarantine all the South Africans coming back from China.

IOL

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