The Department of Health will receive R21. 5 billion to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, which will go into increasing the numbers of people screening and testing for the coronavirus.
The recapitalisation was announced by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni during his supplementary budget tabled in Parliament on Wednesday afternoon.
Mboweni also allocated further amounts for staff in the frontlines of healthcare.
He said the country is responding to a fast evolving pandemic which has forced us to quickly adapt to the new normal and allocate billions of rands for healthcare needs over the cause of the pandemic.
Mboweni says, “The supplementary budget proposes R21.5 billion for COVID-19 healthcare spending. It also proposes a further allocation of R12.6 billion for services at the frontline of our response to the pandemic…”
Minister Tito Mboweni delivers virtual Supplementary Budget speech to Parliament:
The allocation of these funds has been informed by health experts who have been modelling this disease and say we have a big struggle ahead of us, added Mboweni.
He says the country has made remarkable achievements in responding to COVID-19 in the past few months.
“We have successfully increased our COVID-19 bed capacity to about 27 000, identified 400 quarantine sites with a capacity of about 36 000 beds across the lengths and breaths of our country and deployed nearly 50 000 community healthcare workers to screen millions of South Africans. We have tested over 1.3 million people,” says Mboweni.
He also commended commitments and partnerships formed during the pandemic.
“We salute all the brave and outstanding healthcare workers and essential workers of our country for leading in this fight. We also salute the police and the defence force for all their efforts. We understand that tariffs have been agreed upon with private hospitals to support the public health sector capacity.”
There have been more than 1.4 million tests completed, with 111 796 confirmed cases, 2 205 total deaths and 56 874 recoveries.