CAPE TOWN – The German government and Volkswagen South Africa (VWSA) have joined forces in a public-private partnership to convert an old VWSA component plant in Korsten, Port Elizabeth, into a temporary medical facility for Covid-19 patients.
The facility, which will be converted in phases, could accommodate up to 4000 beds once fully operational. This would include high-acuity patients who require oxygenation, a statement from VWSA said yesterday.
Germany’s economic co-operation and development minister, Dr Gerd Müller (pictured), said: “We will either beat Covid-19 worldwide together or not at all. That is why I support Volkswagen South Africa’s plan to turn an unused factory into a facility for Covid-19 patients,” he said. “Our contribution forms part of our worldwide Emergency Covid-19 Support Programme.
It aims to strengthen and expand health infrastructure, provide emergency aid to stabilise regions in crisis and refugee camps, particularly in the Sahel region and the arc of crisis surrounding Syria, and safeguard jobs and food supply,” said Müller. The Volkswagen plant, which is currently not in use, will be converted and used as an overflow medical facility.
The planned conversion is the result of collaboration between VWSA, Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber, Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality and the Eastern Cape department of health.
VWSA will contribute R28million to the project. The German Federal Ministry for Economic Co-operation and Development will help set up the facility.