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South Africa's hospitals are overwhelmed as COVID-19 cases spike

Medical workers prepare a COVID positive patient for a CT Scan at a clinic in Johannesburg Sunday, Dec. 27, 2020.   -  
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Shiraaz Mohamed/Copyright 2020 The Associated Press.

South Africa

Hospitals in South Africa are overwhelmed with the number of patients as the number of coronavirus infections surge.

Patient admissions have been delayed due to Intensive Care Units (ICU) being full and even waiting rooms have had to transform into wards.

Patients say they have had to sit in chairs day and night as they receive oxygen.

"I have been sitting in this chair since Sunday and there is no hot water, there is no beds. We have been sitting like this," said one patient who wished to remain anonymous.

With the festive season in full swing, South Africa’s Covid-19 caseload has reached dismal new highs, with more than 100,000 new Covid-19 cases registered in just nine days.

"I don’t want a situation where we seem as if we are portraying that we got this. What we are saying is 'the house is on fire', we can do as much as we can," said Nomafrench Mbombo, Western Cape Provincial Minister of Health.

"Already by the end of this week we would have produced more that eight hundred and eighty additional beds," she said,

South Africa has breached the one million mark of confirmed COVID-19 cases after 9 502 cases were reported on Sunday, bringing the cumulative total to 1 004 413 cases.

"According to the data we have, with every relaxation of the restrictions on the sale of alcohol, the number of trauma cases reporting at our hospitals has increased," President Ramaphosa said on Monday in an address to the nation.

"These trauma cases are putting an unnecessary strain on our already stretched public health facilities."

As a result, he announced a ban on alcohol sales and a stricter curfew among other measures.

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