Boost for SA quarantine efforts
Public Works working to release 52 sites; Health Ministry to determine if they comply
MINISTER of Public Works and Infrastructure Patricia de Lille yesterday said they were ramping up efforts to release 52 sites to be used for quarantine across the country.
She said the decision would lie with the Department of Health.
The Department of Health would determine if the sites comply with the quarantine requirements before they are given the green light to be used.
However, the quarantine facilities would serve to ease the pressure on public healthcare facilities as cases of coronavirus continue to rise.
Yesterday the Department of Health said there were more than 709 people infected with the virus. This was expected to increase as more people were tested.
De Lille said they had identified the 52 properties in 44 districts and eight metros.
She said the private sector had also offered its sites including hotels, hospitals and holiday properties to be used for quarantine.
The government was assessing the sites offered by the private sector, said De Lille. “So far there is a total of 16 373 beds that have been identified across the country that potentially can be utilised for quarantine facilities. These are a combination of government and private sector facilities. The Department of Works and Infrastructure is working with the Department of Health, which ultimately has to sign off on whether the facility complies with the quarantine requirements.”
She said some of the 16 373 beds were in hospitals. “Our mandate is to cover all 44 districts and eight metros. The 16 373 beds… some of them are in hospitals,” said De Lille.
She said their teams were working around the clock to ensure the beds were available for quarantine.
De Lille also said they were continuing with plans to put a fence on the Beitbridge border with Zimbabwe.
The 40km border fence, which will be erected on the east and west side of the border would restrict the movement of people.
De Lille said the contractor was on site. She said the border fence would be completed by the end of April.
There were eight teams on site and each team was responsible for a 5km segment of the fence.
The teams were also meeting regularly on progress made to put up the fence.
De Lille said they had experienced delays in procurement, but the work was now under way.
The government sealed off some of the border posts when cases of coronavirus started to spread in the country.
The departments had been working together to implement some of the key decisions to protect citizens from contracting the coronavirus.
De Lille also said they would deploy thousands of Expanded Public Works Programme workers to work in the informal settlements on the coronavirus, and part of the work would include educational programmes.
She said these people would be considered an essential service.
She said they would use some of the non-profit organisations to get the 20 000 people to work on this programme.