DA KZN wants special transport for frontline workers

24 July 2020 - 16:15 By Zimasa Matiwane
The DA in KwaZulu-Natal has called for the provincial health department to launch a chartered transport service to ensure health-care staff travel safely and avoid community spread in crowded taxis.
The DA in KwaZulu-Natal has called for the provincial health department to launch a chartered transport service to ensure health-care staff travel safely and avoid community spread in crowded taxis.
Image: Nokulunga Majola

The DA in KwaZulu-Natal has called on the department of health and transport to adopt a transport service to ferry nurses and other essential health-care staff between their workplaces and homes.

KwaZulu-Natal DA spokesperson on health, Rishigen Viranna, suggested that health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu and transport MEC Bheki Ntuli urgently negotiate the start of a provincial "Red Dot Taxi" chartered transport service as part of the fight against Covid-19.

The programme, which was first launched in the Western Cape, is an initiative between the minibus taxi industry and the provincial transport department to provide transport for frontline workers. 

"This programme was pioneered in the DA-led Western Cape and ensures health-care staff travel safely and avoid community spread through the use of crowded taxis.”

As of Wednesday, the provincial command council said there were 828 infected health-care staff, including 473 nurses and 83 doctors, and seven deaths.

To protect health-care workers, Viranna also called on the department to immediately investigate claims of intimidation of staff to return to work prematurely by hospital management.

“The department of health must ensure transparency between management and health-care workers regarding Covid-19 infection rates within facilities to allow staff to know their risk and take requisite precautions.

“All casualty staff must be provided with full personal protective equipment (PPE) due to the fact that the Covid-19 status of patients are unknown, and with high community spread they should all be treated as positive,” the DA said.

Viranna called on the department to immediately institute the recommendations of the St Augustines Hospital report, which includes the division of hospitals into red, yellow and green streams along with specific PPE requirements. 

“This will assist in protecting both staff and patients,” he said.


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