UPDATE: SA still coronavirus-free as 61 people test negative for the virus

2020-02-11 21:05
A student at the University of Cape Town wearing a mask.

A student at the University of Cape Town wearing a mask. (Jaco Marais, Netwerk24)

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The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) says it has tested 61 people for the coronavirus and all have come back negative.

By Tuesday, 108 deaths were reported in China, the highest daily toll since the outbreak began in Wuhan, Al Jazeera reported

According to Professor Cheryl Cohen of the NICD, although there were possibilities the disease could be detected, the country was, however, prepared to fight it.

READ | Novel coronavirus named 'Covid-19': UN health agency

She said there were possibilities because South Africa remained a destination of choice for many travellers, with a lot of traffic coming from Cape Town and OR Tambo international airports.

Cohen added all entry ports were on high alert for any possible cases.

"We can confirm that as of February 11, 2020, 61 individuals have been tested for the virus and all tests have come back negative, therefore there is no confirmed case of the 2019-nCoV in South Africa. 

"The NICD, working with the national Department of Health, continues to enhance systems to rapidly identify and detect any imported cases that may reach our borders," Cohen said.

On Wednesday, 130 health professionals - including medical doctors, environmental health practitioners, emergency personnel, nurses and others - were trained at Tshepong Hospital in North West to build capacity to respond to the virus. 

The institute said the training included guidance on what samples to collect to confirm the diagnosis of the virus as well as how to best manage the case clinically and prevent it from spreading to others.

Last Thursday, News24 reported two patients in KwaZulu-Natal, who were suspected of being infected with the virus, were cleared, with one case being handled at a departmental facility while the other was at a private facility in Durban.

Read more on:    nicd  |  coronavirus  |  health
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