As public hospitals in Gauteng struggle to cope with Covid-19 patients only one field hospital is partially operating and a number of private sector proposals have been ignored by the provincial government.
The NASREC field hospital opened without piped oxygen and proper equipment for 500 beds and a further 800 planned beds still need to be completed. Last week doctors and volunteers at NASREC had to plead for donations of oxygen concentrators to assist patients.
Another four sites have been identified for field hospitals but are not ready to take patients even as Covid-19 cases surge in the province.
It is also disappointing that the provincial government has not supported the proposal by 80 professionals who volunteered to establish a field hospital at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand and said they could set it up in four weeks.
Another rejected initiative was that by Architects Boogertman and Partners to turn the FNB Soccer City Stadium in Soweto into a 1500-bed field hospital.
The missed opportunities and slow progress on field hospitals highlights the failure to use the lockdown period to prepare enough beds for the peak numbers of Covid-19 cases in Gauteng.