If the spread of Covid-19 increases at a rapid rate, the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape government will convert Cape Town Stadium, Athlone Stadium, the Bellville Velodrome and other sports grounds into satellite hospitals. Both provincial and local government officials confirmed that this was part of the disaster management plan should the infection rate rapidly increase. Health officials would move swiftly and within 24 hours be able to convert stadiums, community halls and civic centres into medical facilities or isolation and quarantine wards if the need arose.
Mayoral committee member for safety and security Alderman JP Smith said: “All of our halls, community halls are overflow medical spaces and also isolation spaces. Smith said that mayoral committee member for community services and health councillor Zahid Badroodien was spearheading the municipality’s response and that provincial health was leading the way in planning.
Ideally, community halls would not treat Covid-19 patients because it would be to costly to transform these halls into specialised hospitals. Badroodien said: “There are a number of vital services that are offered by clinic facilities, and these include antenatal care, immunisations and chronic medications.
And so, while we sit with that reality, the other reality we have is also that in the not-too-distant future we may see more and more patients becoming (Covid-19) positive as a result of local transmission. The councillor said they had to be realistic and make the correct preparations.
This week, as temporary shelters such as tents were erected for street people in the city centre and at the Strandfontein Sports Grounds, the City of Cape Town was criticised for not opening community halls for the homeless.
People are unhappy that we haven’t opened up halls for the homeless, but we can’t. These facilities will all be used for management, isolation and treatment,” said Badroodien. The exact manner in which stadiums would be transformed into off-site hospitals has not yet been clarified; nor has the budget for such a move been confirmed by the provincial government.
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