SA confirms first case of the coronavirus

A two-year-old looks on a phone at an illustration of a microscopic view of the new coronavirus. Picture: Marzio Toniolo/Reuters
A two-year-old looks on a phone at an illustration of a microscopic view of the new coronavirus. Picture: Marzio Toniolo/Reuters

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.”

A tracer team has been deployed to KwaZulu-Natal with epidemiologists and clinicians from the NICD

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.


E-Editions

All your favourite publications in one place.
Read now
Voting Booth
Will the move to alert level 1 change the way you approach your personal and professional life?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
No, already living the ‘new normal’
50% - 76 votes
Yes, I can finally emigrate
20% - 30 votes
Yes, my business can finally thrive
3% - 5 votes
I just wanna do the Jerusalem challenge
5% - 8 votes
No, I am still scared
22% - 33 votes
Vote