No international visitors allowed as KZN hospitals limit visits to patients

23 March 2020 - 16:21 By Lwandile Bhengu
Patients at McCord hospital were being screened outside to limit access into the hospital in the wake of COVID-19
Patients at McCord hospital were being screened outside to limit access into the hospital in the wake of COVID-19
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

The KwaZulu-Natal department of health is limiting patient visitation and not allowing international visitors at any of its hospitals during the global coronavirus pandemic.

On Monday, MEC for health Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu announced that visiting hours would now be limited to one hour - 1pm to 2pm - and visitors would be limited to two per patient. International visitors will not be allowed at the facilities.

“With the immune system of some in-hospital patients already compromised because of their ailments, the department has a responsibility to prevent infection and minimise their exposure to people who could be carrying the virus unknowingly,” said Simelane-Zulu.

On Monday, patients at a specialist facility, McCord eye hospital, sat on chairs outside and were screened by health workers before being allowed inside.

A senior manager, who did not want to be named, said this had been put in place after the president announced a national state of disaster.

The screening process was to identify and treat emergency patients while limiting the number of people who enter. Upon entry, nurses ask if patients if they had recently travelled and if they have a cough.

Patients said they were not happy about having to wait outside.

"What if it rains? Sitting out here is not ideal at all," said a woman who did not want to be named.

As of Monday, there were 402 confirmed coronavirus cases in South Africa.


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