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Govt in talks with private hospitals to help COVID-19 patients not on med aid

As more COVID-19 cases were reported in South Africa, concerns are mounting that the public health system will not cope.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said that government had an agreement in principle with private hospitals to accommodate people who may need to be hospitalised to treat COVID-19 even when they can’t afford it.

The minister was speaking on 702 on Wednesday after announcing another jump in the number of coronavirus cases in South Africa.

As of this morning, there were 709 confirmed cases.

WATCH: Health Minister unpacks the rules of COVID-19 lockdown

As more COVID-19 cases were reported in South Africa, concerns are mounting that the public health system will not cope.

Hospitals are already overcrowded, some infrastructure is old and there aren’t enough doctors.

Mkhize said that government was in talks with private hospitals, hoping they would open their doors for COVID-19 patients who may not be covered by medical aid or don’t have money for exclusive health care.

"The agree is there. It's a principal agreement to say we're counting all the birds."

Mkhize said that private and public health facilities were already sharing resources.

"We're looking at who's got what stock and where we can move the staff from private to public."

The minister said that at the end of the day, whatever services were there to fight the virus must be made available for all.

To track the latest developments around the coronavirus both in South Africa and abroad, click on this live status report from Strategix.