HOSPERSA REITERATES CALLS FOR HEALTH WORKERS’ TAX EXEMPTION AMID 135 COVID-19 CASES IN THEIR MIDST

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HOSPERSA REITERATES CALLS FOR HEALTH WORKERS’ TAX EXEMPTION AMID 135 COVID-19 CASES IN THEIR MIDST

28 April 2020

Hospersa, a Union with 60 000 members in both the public and private health sector, has reiterated calls for health workers to be provided a tax exemption during the fight against COVID-19.  Last night, the Minister of Health announced the latest statistics where he reported that South Africa now has 4 996 positive cases with 93 deaths.  There are also around 135 health workers that have tested positive for COVID-19.  Hospersa has called for more protection and incentives for health workers who are putting their lives at risk at cold face of this virus.

Last night, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize briefed the nation on the latest statistics of COVID-19 positive cases.  He reported that 4 996 people have tested positive for the virus while 93 have died with many of the deceased having had underlying conditions which impacted their recovery.  The province with the highest number of cases is the Western Cape with 1 870 while Northern Cape has the lowest number of infections with 17.  The Minister also reported that there are around 135 health workers which have tested positive.  Hospersa is saddened by the increased numbers and concerned by the reported number of health workers who have tested positive which adds even more pressure on a health sector plagued with staff shortages.

“Hospersa is deeply concerned that so many health workers have tested positive for COVID-19 at such an early stage,” said Hospersa General Secretary Noel Desfontaines.  “We have spent the first part of the lockdown battling with the Government and private health sector organisations like NETCARE to tighten protective measures for health workers.  We have been vocal on the shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and called for the employer to provide safe transport for health workers as most employees in public and private health facilities make use of public transport to reach their workplaces.  We have also called for regular screening of health workers, rotation of staff and counselling facilities to deal with the anxiety amongst health workers created by this deadly virus,” said Desfontaines.

“It is also worth noting that many of the reported deaths were patients with underlying health conditions,” said Desfontaines.  “It is for this reason that we demand that all health workers that are above 60 years of age and those with underlying health conditions should not be forced to treat COVID-19 patients.  Instead, such health workers should be placed in wards with less risk and still be provided with the necessary PPE,” argued Desfontaines.

“The increasing number of positive cases amongst health workers further justifies our call for tax exemption for all categories of health workers during this fight against COVID-19,” said Desfontaines.  “Health workers put their lives at risk on a daily basis, working in under-resourced and under-staffed facilities without recognition of their bravery even with the payment of a danger allowance.  We demand government to prioritise the safety and recognition of the many brave women and men in the health sector that are at the forefront of this fight against this deadly virus,” concluded Desfontaines.

 

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For more information please contact Hospersa Public Relations Officer – Kevin Halama 060-546-8166

 Hospersa – Worker Empowerment

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