President Cyril Ramaphosa says there’s no need as yet to reconstruct field hospitals to deal with the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. The country is battling a rise in infections and COVID-19 related fatalities, fueled by a new variant.

Ramaphosa has told SABC News that some provinces had to hire venues at enormous costs in order to set up the field hospitals.

“What had happened is that a number of provinces to set up those facilities they had to hire venues at enormous cost. So when the first wave seemed to be tapering off, they then went in to say ‘well, let us look at how we can save costs.’ But now that the second wave is here and hospitals space is becoming a challenge, we now know what to do. We should be able very quickly to set up various facilities. We haven’t reached there yet, we have been able to bolster the facilities that we have.”

Below is Ramaphosa’s interview with SABC News:

COVID-19 vaccine

Earlier, Ramaphosa said a partnership with the World Health Organisation (WHO) will ensure that the country gets a good price for vaccine doses to combat coronavirus.

The President said he was trying to address the concerns about government’s handling of the procurement. Health officials are reported to have cancelled at least one meeting with global pharmaceutical company Johnson and Johnson.

The company reportedly reached out to officials in August last year to initiate discussions around the local manufacture and trialling of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate.

Ramaphosa said South Africa was working with other developing countries to acquire more vaccines.

“Many developing countries like ourselves we became a part of this, led by the World Health Organisation – we couldn’t get a better partner or leader as the WHO. So that on its own is going to see us get a good number of vaccines, at a good price because when they negotiate for a large number and the amount, the price comes down.” – Additional reporting by Abongile Dumako. 

SA to receive AstraZeneca vaccine from India: