Coronavirus: More isolation wards set up in KZN hospitals

Coronavirus: More isolation wards set up in KZN hospitals

The KwaZulu-Natal Health Department says more hospitals in the province will be able to take care of patients diagnosed with the coronavirus. 

MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu coronavirus
Nushera Soodyal

MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu's been briefing the media this morning on plans to deal with possible local transmissions of the pandemic. 

She says the number of isolation wards in all KZN hospitals has increased from eight to 52. 

"We have identified hospitals that are going to be isolating patients in all the districts. Umgungundlovu District, besides just Grey's Hospital, because Grey's Hospital only has six isolation wards, we decided to add two other hospitals which are Doris Goodwin Hospital, it's next to Edendale Hospital, and the other hospital is Richmond Hospital."

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Simelane-Zulu says they're concerned about people living in informal settlements. 

"We are working on a plan on what will happen should a positive case be found in an informal settlement - remember our informal settlements are too close to each other - so it's sometimes difficult to separate and under who has been in touch with who."

She says South Africa's patient zero in Hilton and all others infected in the province remain in isolation and are in a stable condition. 

Simelane-Zulu's been speaking after the President declared a state of national disaster over COVID-19. 

So far, South Africa has 61 infections

While warning us about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, President Cyril Ramaphosa says fear, ignorance and fake news pose the greatest dangers to us at a time like this. 

"We should stop spreading fake and unverified news and create further apprehension and alarm amongst South Africans."

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Speaking after an urgent cabinet meeting yesterday, Ramaphosa says they are finalising a package of interventions to mitigate the impact of the new outbreak on our economy.  

We'll need to think twice now about where we go and what we do. This includes taking public transport. 

"Effective immediately, all non-essential travel for all spheres of government outside of the republic is prohibited. We further discourage all non-essential domestic travel, particularly by air, rail, taxis and buses."

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