Health workers across South Africa’s two southernmost provinces have been struggling with a surge in coronavirus patients as the country hurtles towards an expected disease peak in July.
“The numbers have been increasing daily — we don’t have enough space” said a casualty nurse at Livingstone Hospital, one of the three COVID-designated facilities in Eastern Cape.
Asking not to be named, she described a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE), back-to-back shifts and chaotic management.
Coronavirus is pushing already-ailing hospitals in one of South Africa’s poorest provinces to the brink.
The Eastern Cape has recorded the third-highest number of coronavirus infections in South Africa, accounting for nearly one in seven of more than 80,400 confirmed cases and 1,674 fatalities.
Health officials claim the disease spread from neighbouring Western Cape province, home to almost 60 percent of cases and around three-quarters of registered deaths.
The two provinces together have a population of 13.5 million out of a national population of 58 million.