SA man suspected of having coronavirus cleared and ready to be discharged

2020-02-05 10:37
Passengers on a flight from Asia wear face masks to protect against the spread of the Coronavirus.

Passengers on a flight from Asia wear face masks to protect against the spread of the Coronavirus. ((Mark Ralston, AFP, file))

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A patient who was suspected to have contracted the deadly coronavirus, and who had been held in isolation at the Ellisras Hospital in Lephalale, has been cleared and could be discharged from hospital as early as Wednesday. 

READ | 'We live daily in fear' - SA man in China desperate to return home with wife

According to Limpopo health department spokesperson Neil Shikwambana, the patient was taken into isolation as a precautionary measure after he developed a high fever and other symptoms consistent with a respiratory disease. 

"The patient works at the Grobler's Bridge border crossing between South Africa and Botswana and was considered as a high-risk case because it is a point of entry," Shikwambana told News24. 

"He was isolated and tested and eventually cleared of having the coronavirus." 

SABC and Citizen earlier reported that health authorities in Limpopo were monitoring the first person in South Africa suspected of possibly having contracted coronavirus. 

READ | 'Measures can ensure suspected coronavirus cases in Africa don't reach SA' - Chinese ambassador

Emergency evacuations

Shikwambana said the patient was expected to be discharged on Wednesday. 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 20 630 people have contracted the virus, which to date has led to 426 deaths.

While most of these cases were reported in China, 159 cases and one death have been reported in 23 other countries.  

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize and health officials from the WHO and the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) addressed the media in Johannesburg on Friday morning, and the minister said South Africa remained on high alert.

Mkhize said that there was no evidence to support repatriation or emergency evacuations of South African citizens in China.

"We have remained vigilant on the development regarding the movement and behaviour of the viral infection across the world and we continue to engage with the international academic fraternity to better understand how this virus behaves," he said.

Mkhize reiterated that South Africa was adequately prepared for active surveillance, early detection, isolation, case management, contact tracing and prevention of the infection.

Read more on:    zweli mkhize  |  polokwane  |  coronavirus

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