Coronavirus: 23 new cases confirmed as local transmissions rise

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(File, Photo by Gallo Images/Brenton Geach)
(File, Photo by Gallo Images/Brenton Geach)

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize confirmed a total of 85 positive cases of Covid-19 in South Africa, an increase of 23 cases from Monday.

Gauteng recorded the most local transmissions, with three people who had no international travel history and one with no travel history at all.

KwaZulu-Natal reported three cases of local transmission, while the Western Cape had one case.

In total, Gauteng recorded 14 new cases.

KZN recorded four new cases, including a three-year-old boy and a five-year-old boy who were infected via local transmission.

The Western Cape recorded five new cases, including a two-year-old boy infected via local transmission and a three-year-old boy who had travelled to the UK.

"I must inform the public that there was a debate with clinicians, epidemiologists [and] virologists on when we, as government must release results to the public. These experts raised an issue of an ethical obligation to immediately alert patients as soon as the results become available.

"This therefore means that by the time a confirmation test is conducted in public laboratories, patients would have been notified of their initial results. This clarification is important because as government, we had announced to the public that all positive results will be verified through our publics laboratories and the NICD," Mkhize said.

For the sake of transparency, results were released as they were submitted by both public and private labs.

"In instances where our confirmation tests give contrary results, we will inform the public, make reference to that specific result previously announced and give the outcome of the confirmation results," he added.

Test results have also cleared all the South Africans who were repatriated from Wuhan, China.

They will continue to be in quarantine, however, and will then be reunited with the community, Mkhize said.

READ | Coronavirus: Why the 14-day quarantine period?

About 15% of those who develop coronavirus require hospitalisation, while about 85% could self-quarantine at home, Mkhize said this week.

He said people with existing medical conditions such as chronic lung disease and immune suppression were more vulnerable and may experience severe symptoms if infected.

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday ordered the closure of South African borders to high-risk countries such as Italy and China, and asked citizens to remain home and avoid travel, as part of the country’s response to the coronavirus epidemic.

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