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Cape Town’s International Convention Centre Turned into 800-bed Covid-19 Hospital

1 May 2020

The City of Cape Town and the Western Cape Government have agreed to use the world-class Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) as a temporary Covid-19 hospital, creating the capacity for us to care for an additional 800 people at the peak of the pandemic.

Globally, healthcare resources being placed under severe pressure as a result of Covid-19.

Cape Town and the Western Cape’s scenario planning has predicted a shortfall of 1 000 acute beds in the province at the peak of the pandemic.

Authorities say that the use of the CTICC will allow them to make up the majority of this shortfall, allowing the government to render care to those who need it.

Since it opened its doors, the CTICC has been an important contributor to Cape Town’s economy – particularly the travel and events economy, creating thousands of jobs. It has hosted world leaders and celebrations. Its use as a hospital to care for hundreds of ill people during this global pandemic is its most significant contribution to our region yet.

The agreement allows the government to make use of the CTICC 1 building immediately up until 7 September, with an option to extend this on a month-to-month basis until the end of the year.

The CTICC has agreed to waive the hire cost of the venue, as part of its contribution to the fight against coronavirus. The temporary infrastructure build, operating and catering costs for the initial hire period will total approximately R47 million.

This amount excludes the costs that the Department of Health will incur in providing clinical equipment, oxygen, medication and temporary staff for the temporary hospital.

The inter-mediate care beds will cater for patients, presenting with milder clinical signs who need hospitalization and treatment including administration of oxygen. The CTICC will not provide for care for patients with more severe clinical signs, which will require intensive care treatment.

Security at the site will be provided by the CTICC and augmented by the City of Cape Town.

The site will be fitted out to be ready by the first week of June, well before the expected peak when these beds will be required.

The comprehensive layout of all the services which will be made available on site – including the beds, showers, nursing stations, support stations, physio stations, and bulk oxygen storage tank spaces, amongst others, – has already been prepared and as of today, is signed off for execution.

Cape Town Mayor, Dan Plato said: “The City of Cape Town and Western Cape Government are working together to ensure a proactive and effective response to the pandemic. Due to the identified shortfall of hospital beds, we need to make use of the available resources at our disposal to adequately address the outbreak and to treat patients on a large-scale. This facility is well-placed with the necessary infrastructure to easily allow the site to be used as a temporary hospital.”

Western Cape Minister of Health, Nomafrench Mbombo said “The announcement comes in the wake of us tabling our scenario planning strategy where we announced the anticipated bed shortfall in the province. The CTICC will function as an intermediate care facility, providing about 800 beds, showing that the province is working hard to effectively deal with this pandemic.”

Taubie Motlhabane, CEO of the CTICC said: “During these extraordinary times, we welcome the opportunity for the CTICC to be part of the solution. The conversion of CTICC 1 into a temporary Covid-19 hospital facility will add to the resources needed in our healthcare system to fight this pandemic. We are proud to be part of the team.”

The City of Cape Town and the Western Cape Government have been working around the clock to prepare for the peak of the virus in the province. The hospital at the CTICC, together with 18 temporary testing and triage sites across the province, and a number of already operational quarantine and isolation sites, are all part of a focused response to ensure that we are able to provide care at a time when it is most needed.