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COVID-19: GP health dept halts elective surgeries, limits patient visits

The Gauteng department of health has cancelled all elective surgeries that were planned in advance and scrapped all annual health events.

Picture: 123rf

JOHANNESBURG – The Gauteng health department has put additional measures in place at its facilities to strengthen the response to the coronavirus.

The province accounts for 132 of the 274 national cases of COVID-19.

Last week, the department imposed new restrictions on visiting hours at health care facilities, limiting visits to one hour per day and only allowing one visitor at a time for a maximum of 15 minutes.

On Sunday, they cancelled elective surgeries that were planned in advance and they also scrapped all annual health events.

Gauteng health spokesperson Kwara Kekana said: “We will reduce the number of patient visits by using the appointment system. A separate area for patients with flu-like symptoms will be identified in facilities. We will also increase the number of chronic patients linked to centralised chronic medical dispensing and distribution system.”

At the same time, activists said allowing evictions to go ahead during the coronavirus outbreak would be dangerous for vulnerable people.

A group of non-governmental organisations has penned a letter to the president’s national command council asking for a moratorium on evictions.

Ndifuna Ukwazi's Mandisa Shandu said: “In the context of evicting and displacing people into spaces where there isn’t an alternative, for various reasons, poses a serious risk on all fronts. So the basic minimum that can be done is to place a moratorium on that so as to not exacerbate the risk.”