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29 April 2020

Hospersa, a Union with 60 000 members in both the public and private health sector, is shocked by the confirmed number of COVID-19 positive cases amongst health workers.  This morning, the Department of Health, confirmed that more than 300 health workers have tested positive contrary to the Health Minister’s announcement of around 135 positive cases last night.  Hospersa has further emphasised its call for its members to refuse to work when Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is not provided and for Government to prioritise the safety needs of health workers.

This morning, the Department of Health (DoH) issued a report with a breakdown on the 4 996 COVID-19 cases in South Africa.  The report indicates that there are currently 328 positive health workers.  The private health sector has a total of 195 positive cases while the public sector has a total of 133 positive cases.  Hospersa is very alarmed by these numbers which are almost double to what the Minister of Health alluded to last night.  The Union has emphasised to its members to refuse to work where PPE is not provided by the employer in both the public and private sector.

“Hospersa is deeply alarmed that this morning’s figures are more than double the figures announced by the Minister [of Health] last night,” said Hospersa General Secretary Noel Desfontaines.  “These statistics reveal that health workers continue to work in unsafe working conditions where PPE is not sufficiently provided.  We continue calling on our members to refuse to work when PPE and safe working conditions are not provided by the employer,” added Desfontaines.

“Hospersa is also demanding safe transport for health workers as most employees in public and private health facilities make use of public transport to reach their workplaces,” said Desfontaines.  “When the lock-down measures are eased on 1 May 2020, many other non-screened public commuters will be sharing the same transport with health workers which will increase the risk of infection amongst these essential workers.  More infections amongst health workers will also derail any plans for the country to successfully control this virus as currently the public health sector is under-staffed,” added Desfontaines.

“We have also called for regular screening of health workers and counselling facilities to deal with the anxiety amongst health workers created by this deadly virus.  We remain firm on our convictions to government that neglecting health workers’ demands for basic necessities like PPE puts their lives at risk and will be unnecessary casualties during this fight against COVID-19,” concluded Desfontaines.



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

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