Western Cape Premier Alan Winde has defended the provincial health department’s covid-19 testing criteria.

Tests will be conducted only on people at hospitals who are over the age of 55 and have underlying illnesses.

These include healthcare workers and the elderly in old age homes.

People under 55 with underlying illnesses are also considered high-risk and will be tested.

Authorities say the reason for this, is due to a massive Covid-19 testing backlog, as some 27,000 samples are still waiting to be tested.

Trade union, Nehawu has criticised the direction taken by the province, saying it’s not in accordance with the regulations suggested by the World Health Organisation.

But Winde says the strategy will go ahead.

“I ask for your patience and understanding as we act decisively to save the lives the most vulnerable in our communities”.