Coronavirus morning update: The return from Wuhan - but not everybody wanted to come back



Cases update: 

Another 14 positive cases have been confirmed, bringing the total number in South Africa to 38.

The cases are still spread across four provinces only - Gauteng with 17, KwaZulu-Natal with 11, the Western Cape with nine, and Mpumalanga with one.

There are still no local transmissions in the country, all cases so far involve people who have travelled to South Africa from overseas.

READ MORE |All the confirmed cases of coronavirus in SA

Latest news:

A group of 114 South Africans who were repatriated from Wuhan City, China, the epicentre of the corona virus outbreak, have arrived back on African soil.

The group, under heavy SANDF and SAPS guard, was then escorted to Protea Hotel's The Ranch Resort - a four-star hotel, which is 25km outside of the Polokwane CBD - where they will be quarantined for 21 days. 

The flight crew, including the staff and members of SANDF and SAPS on the mission, are also expected to be quarantined for the period as a precautionary measure to ensure they are not infected with the novel coronavirus, which broke out in Wuhan in December 2019. 

Some of South Africans who were supposed to return from Wuhan, pulled out at the last minute, Department of Health spokesperson Popo Maja told News24. 

Initially it was thought that 122 citizens would be repatriated from Wuhan, the epicentre of the novel coronavirus, but several people decided to remain behind. 

Maja did not elaborate on the reasons why they had pulled out of the repatriation process. 

READ MORE | South Africans repatriated from Wuhan return home

The Department of Health has confirmed that the first South African person under 18 has tested positive for the Covid-19 virus.

On Saturday, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said the 14-year-old from the Western Cape was among 14 new cases who had tested positive for the virus.

Earlier on Saturday, the United Herzlia Schools in Cape Town sent parents a letter, which News24 has seen, which stated that a Grade 9 girl had tested positive for the Covid-19 virus.

READ MORE |14-year-old among latest Covid-19 virus cases

The eSwatini health ministry says it is awaiting the results of 12 more cases, after a woman tested postive for the Covid-19 virus. 

This is the country's first confirmed case. 

The 33-year-old woman had travelled to the United States. She then went to Lesotho for a business meeting, before returning to eSwatini. 

She was "seen by a private practitioner who samples for a laboratory testing on 11 March 2020." eSwatini Health Minister Lizzie Nkosi said in a statement on Saturday.

"The test was confirmed positive in a South African laboratory," she said. 

READ MORE | eSwatini awaiting results on 12 more cases after woman tests positive for Covid-19


Cases update:

For the latest global data, follow this interactive map from Johns Hopkins University & Medicine.

China remains hardest-hit, but Italy now has more than 20 000 confirmed cases, and more than 1 000 deaths.

READ MORE | More than 150 000 cases worldwide

Latest news:

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus a pandemic this week as many countries expanded travel restrictions, shut down schools and universities, and clamped down on large public gatherings in a bid to contain the virus. 

Speaking on Wednesday, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that in the past two weeks the number of cases outside China had increased 13-fold, and expressed deep concern about the spread of the virus. He also raised concerns about "alarming levels of inaction".

Eric Feigl-Ding, an epidemiologist at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, told UpFront that he ranks the global collective effort to contain the coronavirus at B-minus, C-plus.

"I think testing in Korea is absolutely gold standard. But testing in the United States is absolutely abysmal," Feigl-Ding said. 

READ MORE |Coronavirus inaction: Could world leaders have blood on their hands?

Some of Rome's Catholic churches reopened on Friday after Pope Francis voiced displeasure with the Italian authorities' push to shut them because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The rare standoff between the 83-year-old pontiff and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte's government came as Italy's death toll topped 1 000.

Italy has suffered more than half the Covid 19 deaths reported outside China to date and the death toll has been increasing by hundreds each day.


The main symptoms of the new coronavirus are a fever, a dry cough and fatigue – but what does the virus actually do to your body?

WATCH | How coronavirus hijacks a body

HEALTH TIPS (as recommended by the NICD and WHO)

• Avoid contact with people who have respiratory infections 

• Maintain social distancing – stay at least one metre away from somebody who is coughing or sneezing

• Practise frequent hand-washing, especially after direct contact with ill people or their environment

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, as your hands touch many surfaces and could potentially transfer the virus

• Practise respiratory hygiene – cover your mouth with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Remember to dispose the tissue immediately after use.

READ MORE: Coronavirus 101 

Image credit: Getty Images

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