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.

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