Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has confirmed the first case of the coronavirus in South Africa.
In a statement released on Thursday, the minister said that the National Institute for Communicable Diseases in SA (NICD) confirmed the case.
The patient is a 38-year-old man who had travelled to Italy with his wife.
“They were a part of a group of 10 people and they arrived back in SA on March 1,” Mkhize said.
“The patient consulted a private general practitioner on 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.”
Covid-19 is an infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus – it was virtually unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.
To date, more than 93 000 cases have been confirmed – about 80 000 of which are in China.
According to the minister, the patient – who is a father of two – has been self-isolating since.
The Emergency Operating Centre has also identified who the man came into contact with, including the doctor who treated him.
“A tracer team has been deployed to KwaZulu-Natal with epidemiologists and clinicians from the NICD. The doctor has been self-isolated as well,” Mkhize stated.
This comes as Parliament gets ready to debate SA’s readiness to deal with Covid-19.
This is a developing story to be updated as soon as more information is available.
Meanwhile, two South Africans working on a cruise ship who had earlier tested positive for the coronavirus will soon be heading home after undergoing treatment.
News24 reported that Government Communication and Information System acting director-general Phumla Williams said the pair have since tested negative for the virus.
She added the two were working on the Diamond Princess when they initially tested positive for Covid-19.
Williams said they were pleased to announce that the pair were heading home after being given the green light.
Health journalist | City Press
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