Concert venue to be Covid-19 testing centre

Paul Ash

The Ticketpro Dome in Northgate is to be temporarily repurposed as a Covid-19 testing centre. The Dome’s management offered the facility to local disaster-relief charity Gift of the Givers.

Carol Weaving, who manages the Dome on behalf of Reed Exhibitions, said: “With all public events cancelled and gatherings of more than 100 people banned for the next 90 days, the company decided to postpone all booked events, and to offer the venue to any organisation that could make best use of the space. We felt we have an obligation to the country. We thought it would be very beneficial to help SA and the community.”

The Dome has full Wi-Fi connectivity, extensive ablution facilities and enough space to even house a field hospital.

“It’s a very well-equipped space,” said Weaving.

Gift of the Givers founder Imtiaz Sooliman said preparations are under way to set up a Covid-19 testing facility at the venue. “Providing affordable testing is another essential aspect of the management process,” he said.

The charity, which has made its reputation from its work in disaster areas such as Sudan, Syria and Yemen, already has one Covid-19 testing centre operating at Roshnee in Johannesburg.

Urgent discussions were under way to open more test facilities elsewhere in SA. Tests cost R750 per person, almost half of what other laboratories are charging.

While there is a possibility that the Dome could become a quarantine centre if coronavirus cases mushroom, it was unlikely that it would be used as a field hospital, Sooliman said.

“It would be better to have tents in the grounds of hospitals,” he said.

Once the crisis is over, Weaving said the Dome would be given a ‘deep clean’ before reopening its doors.

“At the end of the day we are going to go back to business. But right now we need a bit of good news,” she said. 

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