Netcare CEO warns that three-week lockdown may not be enough

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Private hospital group Netcare says the three-week lockdown initiated by President Cyril Ramaphosa might not be long enough to achieve the government’s aim of slowing the spread of COVID-19 to prevent the health system from being overwhelmed.

Business Day reports that JSE-listed Netcare, which is one of South Africa’s three biggest private hospital groups, and said that it had already spent R150m in stepping up protective measures in its facilities and readying itself for an anticipated surge in COVID-19 patients.

Netcare, headed by Richard Friedland, said the situation in South Africa was “extremely concerning”, and its actuarial modelling indicated the already constrained health system would struggle to cope with the looming increase in the number of patients requiring hospitalisation and beds in intensive care units.

“Our modelling suggests that, as has been experienced in other countries, and depending on the effectiveness of the lockdown, it will require ongoing evaluation to determine if the time period is sufficient to achieve its intended goals,” it said.

Netcare has implemented a number of measures to deal with the outbreak. This includes training its employees, screening and isolating patients to contain the spread of the virus and it has also spent the R150m to prepare its ICU or high care facilities by “purchasing additional ventilators, ultraviolet light disinfection robots and specialised air filters to ensure appropriate disinfection measures,” it is quoted in Fin24 as saying.

Netcare has suspended all of its strategic projects, except for its “CareOn digital rollout” at Netcare Milpark Hospital. “Given the lockdown, all routine activities other than essential activities relating to COVID-19, have been stopped.

Full Business Day report

Full Fin24

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