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From Wuhan to New York, hospitals across the world have resembled warzones as they’ve been overwhelmed by an influx of Covid-19 patients. But as cases begin to spike in the Eastern Cape, the province’s state-run Livingstone Hospital has instead become the site of a trade union-led laundry war.

The academic hospital in Port Elizabeth has 26 Covid-19 patients and, as the primary site where people who contract the coronavirus are due to be treated, it’s bracing for many more. But in recent days, the hospital has been a mess, with litter strewn in the corridors. Worse: the casualty ward had to be closed in the middle of last week, as blood remained uncleaned on the floor...

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