Gauteng closes three quarantine sites, only one to remain open until Jan 2021

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Medical officials attend to Covid-19 patients at the Nasrec quarantine and isolation site in Johanneburg. (Photo by Gallo Images/Dino Lloyd)
Medical officials attend to Covid-19 patients at the Nasrec quarantine and isolation site in Johanneburg. (Photo by Gallo Images/Dino Lloyd)
  • The Gauteng health department said two of its quarantine sites were closed in August and another one was expected to be closed in November.  
  • The department said the Nasrec field hospital would remain open until January 2021. 
  • Acting Health MEC Jacob Mamabolo said that, according to the World Health Organisation, the threat of a second wave of infections still remained. 

The Nasrec field hospital that was contracted by the Gauteng provincial government to be used for isolation and quarantine of Covid-19 positive patients in the province, will remain open until January 2021.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the province's health department said two of its quarantine and isolation sites - Telkom in Olifantsfontein and Transnet in Esselen Park - were already closed in August, while the third site, Eskom in Midrand, was expected to close by the end of November.

This was due to low demand for services in these facilities, and the need to make use of the venues by the owners, said the department.  

It also added the threat of Covid-19 infections had not been "completely reduced" in the province to justify Nasrec being closed at this stage. 

"The projected peak was not realised by end of September 2020 as per initial projections, the threat of the second wave of infections still remains, according to the World Health Organisation," acting Health MEC Jacob Mamabolo said. 

READ | Covid-19: Limpopo govt reveals its 46 quarantine sites

"The province is cautious on its decisions to start reducing the number of beds outside hospital environments without consideration of underlying threats of a second wave which is evidently being realised in other countries."

The department also said it would be "monitoring" the festive season period closely for Covid-19 infections.

It said 21 patients were treated at the Nasrec facility in September, and five had been admitted so far in October.

And by end of August, the department had recorded the following accumulative expenditure on the facility:

  • For a 500 beds isolation and quarantine facility: R 58 121 400.68
  • For 1 000 beds P3 facility: R 69 364 205.00

"The department is projecting to spend less than what was projected based on full occupation of all beds procured. Should the bed occupation numbers remain consistent with the current rate, our projections for both facilities (combined costs) is at the region of between R157 029 963 and R255 896 761 for all costs, inclusive of assets, to be recovered," Mamabolo said.  

- Compiled by Jeanette Chabalala
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