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First Coronavirus case in South Africa

A 38 year old male tested positive for the virus, despite strict measures being put into place across all South African airports.

South Africa has registered its first Coronavirus case on Thursday, March 5, 2020, as announced by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases. A 38-year-old male from KwaZulu-Natal tested positive after his return from Italy with his wife as part of a group of ten people. They arrived back in South Africa on Sunday, March 1, 2020.

The patient consulted a private general practitioner on Tuesday, March 3, with symptoms of fever, headache, malaise, a sore throat and a cough. The practice nurse took swabs and delivered it to the lab.

“The patient has been self-isolating since March 3. The couple also has two children. The Emergency Operating Centre (EOC) has identified the contacts by interviewing the patient and doctor. The tracer team has been deployed to KwaZulu-Natal with epidemiologists and clinicians from NICD. The doctor has been self-isolated as well,” said Minister of Health Dr. Zweli Mkhize.

A press briefing will be held later after the ongoing parliamentary debate on Thursday evening to shed more light on this issue.

132 South Africans residing in Wuhan City, China have requested to be repatriated back home. Most of these South Africans are students, teachers and other professionals currently working in Wuhan. Only seven South Africans in Wuhan have opted to remain in Wuhan City.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that these compatriots are currently living under lockdown conditions following the outbreak of the coronavirus. A multidisciplinary team of Ministers of various departments has commenced with the logistical arrangements and government is in constant communication with the families of all affected individuals.

“None of the affected individuals have been diagnosed with the virus nor have they exhibited any symptoms thereof. Upon arrival in South Africa, they will be placed in quarantine for 21 days as an additional precautionary measure,” said Khusela Diko, Spokesperson to the President.

Healthcare personnel and supporting staff have been deployed to provide assistance during the repatriation and quarantine processes. Department of Home Affairs (DHA) will provide immigration services and the Department of Social Development (DSD) will offer trauma counselling and support.

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak of the virus, which set in motion coordination efforts worldwide. The Coronavirus was first reported in Wuhan, China in November 2019. A total of 95 000 people have been diagnosed with the virus and 3 287 people have since passed away.

Please note that there is no vaccine for Coronavirus.

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