South African hospital shut over Covid-19 fears

South Africa is in the second week of a nationwide lockdown

A private hospital in South Africa has been closed to the public after 66 people, 48 of them staff, tested positive for Covid-19, South Africa’s Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize, has said.

The health ministry had been worried about St Augustine’s private hospital in the coastal city of Durban for a number of days now.

It became clear last Friday that there was a cluster of cases associated with the hospital, the ministry said.

At that point, an appeal went out for anyone who had visited the facility since the beginning of March to get tested.

The provincial health minister has suggested that the hospital might not have properly reported the number of Covid-19 cases it was treating, and had failed to properly test for the virus.

All patients in the facility are now being checked for coronavirus.

Those who test negative will be transferred to other hospitals in the area, while those who test positive will be required to stay at the hospital for treatment.The hospital’s operator – Netcare – said in a statement that “a deep clean” of the hospital was ongoing.

The statement said that the ideal situation would be for hospitals to test regularly every person coming into the hospital, but sadly that situation was not currently possible.