Mkhize to unveil new Eastern Cape medical facility

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Health Minister Zweli Mkhize is expected to officially open a huge medical facility in the Eastern Cape on Tuesday.

Vehicle manufacturing giant, Volkswagen South Africa, will hand over the temporary COVID-19 facility to the provincial Department of Health.

Once fully operational, the 66 000 square-metre facility can accommodate up to 4000 patients, including high acuity patients who require oxygenation and specialised medical care.

In the first phase, the vehicle component plant was converted into a medical facility and completed through a R107 million donation from the German government.

The first phase will equip the facility to accommodate over 1400 patients.

Mkhize has appealed to people to continue to practice COVID-19 safety measures, which include social distancing, washing of hands and wearing of masks in trying to reduce the spread of the virus.

His comments come as the country has 1991 deaths, with the infection 101 590 confirmed cases.

Mkhize says if people don’t change their behaviour and adhere to preventative measures, the number of COVID-19 cases are going to skyrocket.

He says, “Wait for two weeks, you will see the impact of the recklessness, how it will actually translate in the numbers of more new infections. The real risk is when those numbers are so huge that even our hospitals can’t cope. We have managed it so well up to now, we need to really maintain the balance as we move into the next few weeks.”

The Western Cape remains the province with the most confirmed cases of COVID-19, accounting for 52.9% of the country’s total, having recorded 55 554 infections. The province has also recorded the most deaths, accounting for 1 448 of total fatalities in South Africa.

It is followed by Gauteng with 22 341 cases, accounting for 21.4% of South Africa’s total infections. The province also accounts for 122 of the country’s COVID-19 related deaths.

Although the Eastern Cape has recorded less cases of COVID-19 than Gauteng, the province has recorded more deaths as 303 people have died from the novel virus in the province; 163 more than Gauteng.