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Government will help private hospitals with protective gear: Mkhize

Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize says his department will step in to provide protective gear to health workers at private hospitals.
Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize says his department will step in to provide protective gear to health workers at private hospitals.
Image: Supplied

The government will assist private hospitals to procure protective gear in a bid to arrest the large amount of infections recorded at those facilities in recent weeks.

This is according to Dr Zweli Mkhize, who also warned that South Africans who refused to stay at home were undermining the efforts of the nationwide lockdown.

The health minister made the comments during a press conference on Wednesday, where he announced that the country now has 2,506 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and seven additional deaths, bringing the toll to 34.

Gauteng remains the epicentre with 930 cases, while the Western Cape has 657 and KwaZulu-Natal has 519. The Eastern Cape has seen a significant increase in cases, which now stand at 199.

Mkhize also accepted donations of protective gear from communications company MultiChoice and soccer bosses Kaizer Motaung of Kaizer Chiefs and Irvin Khoza of Orlando Pirates.

He said the government was working to consolidate all contributions in order to ensure even distribution of the much-needed resources.

“We will provide protective gear and we will not allow for any one member to be forced to work when they are not ready - either not properly trained or not properly protected - to be able to deal with the infection without themselves getting infections,” said Mkhize.

No hospital will have protective gear while others do not have - it shall be shared. 
Dr Zweli Mkhize

“We have had lots of discussions with the unions representing the members. We also had a huge amount of discussions with our own management in raising the question that we need to ensure that there is equitable distribution of the protective gear across every district.

“No hospital will have protective gear while others do not have - it shall be shared. 

“We also want to acknowledge contributions from various businesses who are working with us now, so that we can have a look at how much protective gear is within South Africa in various companies, so that we have been able to ensure that it is evenly distributed.

“We will be working also with the private practitioners to assist them so that they can also make sure they are protected. We have noticed that in the past few weeks, the major thrust of the infections have been in the private sector, so from that point of view we want to say that the message remains very strong.”

The minister lauded the soccer bosses for their contribution of protective gear. He also heaped praised on them for accepting the government’s call for mass gatherings to be done away with, even before the lockdown was instituted. He said this was a huge sacrifice on the part of clubs, players and supporters.

Still, Mkhize warned that the infection could spread even during the lockdown if people did not stay at home.

“There has been a slight change in the number of people being infected, but this can be easily undermined if people continue to mingle and not observe staying at home. That can see the spread of the infection even during a lockdown," he said.


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