Volkswagen SA is converting its Port Elizabeth plant which is currently not in use to an overflow field hospital.
The facility is said to have a capacity of 4000 beds. This decision was in response to the need to relieve pressure from the field hospital set up in the Nelson Mandela Stadium which has a capacity of 1000 beds.
The number of COVID-19 cases are increasing at a fast rate in South Africa which has put tremendous strain on the health care system. The living conditions of most South Africans do not allow for patients to quarantine at home, which has resulted in patients needing to be quarantined either in a hospital or designated quarantine facilities. The ratio of beds and ventilators to patients has become so unbalanced that the provincial government was failing to meet all patients needs.
In solidarity with the provincial government, Volkswagen SA, together with the German government have jointly funded 135 million South African Rands (R) towards the conversion of the plant and the procurement of protective gear for medical staff and the purchase of more ventilators. This is a much-needed boost for the government and will ensure that all patient needs are met which will go a long way in the fight against the spread of the virus.
The German Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development explained that this initiative forms part of Volkswagen’s worldwide Emergency Covid-19 Support Programme. “We will either beat Covid-19 worldwide together or not at all”, he said.