PREMIER David Makhura at BMW plant in Rosslyn yesterday to monitor compliance with lockdown laws. Picture: Oupa Mokoena  African News Agency (ANA)
PREMIER David Makhura at BMW plant in Rosslyn yesterday to monitor compliance with lockdown laws. Picture: Oupa Mokoena African News Agency (ANA)

Covid-19: BMW, Nissan collaboration for field hospital in Rosslyn

By Rapula Moatshe Time of article published May 21, 2020

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Pretoria - Plans are on the cards to set up a field hospital at Rosslyn to prepare for the worst case scenario of massive Covid-19 infections, Premier David Makhura said yesterday.

He was visiting the BMW and Nissan vehicle manufacturing plants, where he assessed the companies’ compliance with the lockdown level 4 regulations.

He was accompanied by Health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku and his Economic Development counterpart Morakane Mosupyoe.

Makhura said the establishment of a field hospital would be done in collaboration with two vehicle manufacturers and the German embassy.

The hospital would help with taking care of at least 5000 of the workforce at BMW in the event that they contract the virus.

It would also play a vital role in assisting the neighbouring community of Soshanguve, where the majority of the workforce stays.

Makhura said preparations were in full swing to make sure the province was ready to move into level 3 of the lockdown at the end of the month.

He, however, said the onus to usher the province into level 3 rested with the national command council.

The inspection of compliance in businesses was part of the preparation that must be made in order to go to the next level 3.

Makhura said: “We can’t just go to level 3 without making sure that every workplace and every public space has got all the measures in place. We can’t just take the risk of opening up and get hit suddenly by the big wave of the pandemic.”

He issued a stern warning against businesses that were not complying with the safety and health measures put in place to ward off the impact of Covid-19, saying there won’t be mercy spared for them.

“Where the employer does not comply, it must be clear that there shall be no mercy. And we already have one business that has done so in Centurion. We shut down that factory. Every day we hear that they want to open without complying. We will go to court.”

He said the government would not hesitate to obtain a court interdict against any business breaking safety measures aimed at “flattening the curve”.

BMW group chief executive Tim Abbott told the Pretoria News that the concept of building a field hospital was still at an early stage.

He said the facility would help many of his employees, many who came from Soshanguve after it was recently identified as an emerging hotspot for Coronavirus infections.

He said the Japanese government and German embassy were also on board to construct the hospital.

“We have time to build the hospital in anticipation of the pandemic peak in September. We are still drawing a plan as to how many beds we are going to need.

“The next stage would be to cope with the pandemic before we can think about how the hospital would function beyond the Coronavirus.”

Masuku said the capacity of the hospital would depend on the need determined by the number of cases that would require hospitalisation.

He said one important matter that ought to be discussed was the re-purposing of the facility beyond the pandemic.

Recently, the Tshwane District Health Services said the process to identify quarantine sites for people who won’t be able to self-isolate at home was ongoing.

The district said a youth development centre based in Kameeldrift sites was earmarked for quarantining Covid-19 patients.

However, the centre, with 38 beds, was still undergoing compliance tests to make sure they meet health requirements prescribed by the World Health Organization.

Tshwane District Hospital has also been cleared to admit Covid-19 patients.

Other plans to deal with Covid-19 cases also included three hospitals in the metro - Kalafong Provincial Hospital in Atteridgeville, Jubilee District Hospital in Hammanskraal and Dr George Mukhari Hospital in Ga-Rankuwa.

* For the latest on the Covid-19 outbreak, visit IOL's  #Coronavirus trend page.
** If you think you have been exposed to the Covid-19 virus, please call the 24-hour hotline on 0800 029 999 or visit sacoronavirus.co.za

Pretoria News

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