Security measures have been beefed up at the Jose Pearson TB hospital in Port Elizabeth following threats of possible protests by patients, the Eastern Cape Department of Health said on Friday.
Twenty-two multi drug-resistant (MDR) and extreme drug-resistant (XDR) TB
patients were arrested on Wednesday for public violence and assault.
Spokesman Sizwe Kupelo said: "Another security company has been hired to provide safety for staff members and other patients.
"When the patients were arrested they threatened staff members - saying that they would retaliate when they returned to the hospital; this will not be tolerated," said Kupelo.
He said the 22 MDR and XDR TB patients were back in the hospital after the St Albans Prison and the Bethelsdorp police turned them away after their appearance in court for public violence and assault on Thursday.
Kupelo said the patients were currently housed in an isolated facility in the hospital.
"They were turned away from police cells and prison because these institutions do not have isolation facilities to accommodate these patients with a contagious condition," said Kupelo.
He said the department was at present considering finding alternative accommodation so that the "trouble makers" are moved there.
"The hospital houses more than 300 patients, not all of them are trouble makers - but a few have traumatised fellow patients and staff," he said.
He said the department expected to move the "troublesome" patients to another isolation facility in a few days.
On Wednesday, the TB patients - 17 men and five women aged between 18 and 42 - went on a rampage.
They pelted security guards with stones, vandalised equipment and held hostage a nurse at the hospital.
They were arrested on Wednesday and released on free bail on Thursday. – (Sapa)
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