JOHANNESBURG — South Africa has opened a 3,300-bed field hospital in a converted car manufacturing plant as the country braces for an anticipated surge in COVID-19 cases.
The field hospital was built in the city of East London in the Eastern Cape province, one of the country’s coronavirus hot spots. South Africa has reported a total of 101,590 virus cases and 1,991 COVID-19 deaths as of Tuesday.
The new field hospital brings the number of hospital beds nationwide to just above 27,000, including existing facilities and new field hospitals, according to the government. The new facility’s beds come with equipment to administer concentrated oxygen.
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said the facilityalso will help boost laboratory testing capacity in South Africa.
A closed Volkswagen vehicle manufacturing plant donated by the German car maker was transformed into the new field hospital. The German government provided financial support to convert the factory in collaboration with the Eastern Cape provincial government.