PPE: now more expensive
(Getty)
  • The South African government has a new price list for personal protective equipment (PPE) – and it is willing to pay a lot more for some items than it was two weeks ago.
  • National Treasury maintains a list of the maximum prices any government institution is allowed to pay for essential Covid-19 supplies, which are scarce globally.
  • The numbers "reflect realistic current market prices", Treasury says. That now means paying R184 per litre for hand sanitiser, and more than R2,500 for an infrared thermometer.
  • For more stories go to the Business Insider South Africa homepage.

The South African government has an updated price list for critical personal protective equipment (PPE) to fight Covid-19 – and it is willing to pay a lot more for some items than it was two weeks ago.

National Treasury maintains a list of the maximum prices government institutions may pay for items such as gloves and face masks as part of its role to centralise buying after, by its estimation, the process of mass testing for the coronavirus was previously "crippled" by the procurement system.

It published the first such price list, dated 15 April, last week. It has since been removed from circulation. This week it published a brand new price list, dated 22 April. And in those 13 days, some prices have changed dramatically.

See also | Mass Covid-19 testing has been ‘crippled’ by how SA buys supplies, says National Treasury

In the biggest change, the government will now pay up to R183.60 for hand sanitiser with no less than 70% alcohol, which complies with World Health Organisation recommendations.

That is up from a maximum of R46.37 the government was willing to pay for 500ml of hand sanitiser two weeks before, for an effective price of R92.74 per litre. (For 25-litre drums it was previously willing to pay only an effective R65.49 per litre.)

In another big jump, the government is now willing to pay up to R2,527.20 for a no-contact infrared digital thermometer, of the kind that will be mandatory at the entrances to many buildings and shops as they reopen under Alert Level 4. That is nearly 34% more than the previous R1,888.50 price.

Other increased prices include:

  • Reusable aprons are up 75% to R2.97 each
  • Face shields are up 44% to R108 each
  • Isolation gowns are up 77% to R113.40 each.

The prices for masks, surgical gowns, and boot covers have remained the same.

Some prices have also declined between the two lists. Respirators and PVC-framed goggles are expected to come in around a third cheaper than before, and disposable coveralls will be slightly cheaper too.

Also down by around a quarter are the maximum prices the government will pay for biohazard bags, and for body bags, which now come capped at R210.60 each. 

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