VOLKSWAGEN Group South Africa (VWSA) officially handed over a field hospital to the Eastern Cape Department of Health and Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality.

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize and Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane officially opened phase one of Rev Dr Elizabeth Mamisa Chabula-Nxiweni Field Hospital yesterday.

The hospital was built by VWSA at an unused VWSA plant in Kostern and funded by the German government for Covid-19 patients in Port Elizabeth. VWSA chairman and managing director-general Thomas Schaefer said: “Phase one will accommodate 1 485 beds while the facility will accommodate up to 3 300 beds for patients once fully operational. This would include high acuity patients who require oxygenation.”

Mabuyane said VWSA’s investment came at the right time as there was a surge in numbers.

“The city is the epicentre of coronavirus in the Eastern Cape, so this hospital is in the right place.”

He also announced that the hospital was meant to accommodate 4 000 beds, but due to social distancing, they had to reduce the number of beds to 3 300 with five doctors and 40 nurses as well as supporting staff.

Mkhize said the hospital was ready for Covid-19 patients.