Coronavirus: All the fuss is irritating, says doctor who diagnosed first SA case

Doctor Robyn Reed, who attended to and referred Patient Zero for further tests.
Doctor Robyn Reed, who attended to and referred Patient Zero for further tests.
Moeketsi Mamane, City Press

The doctor who diagnosed South Africa's first case of the novel coronavirus says she is not sick and finds all the fuss quite "irritating"

Speaking to Rapport, Dr Robyn Reed, a general practitioner from Hilton in KwaZulu-Natal, said she and the nurse who assisted her are spending two weeks in self-isolation.

"But I feel absolutely fine and my nurse and I are not ill. I am doing some gardening and find all the fuss quite irritating," Reed told Rapport.

Reed, who examined the first coronavirus-positive South African, on Friday called for calm and warned people not to panic because the illness was similar to the flu, News24 reported.

Reed told eNCA her staff was checked on Friday.

"This is hugely blown out of proportion. People are making a huge hysterical panic about something that is a very bad flu. Most of the people who are going to get it, will get over it like they get over the flu."

On Thursday, South Africa confirmed its first case of coronavirus, a 38-year-old man from Hilton, who had visited Italy on holiday with eight friends. The man, his wife and two children are all isolated in their home.

A second case of the novel coronavirus was confirmed in South Africa on Saturday.

A 39-year-old woman from Gauteng, who was part of the same travel group to Italy as the first case, was diagnosed with the virus, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize confirmed.

"The second patient who has now tested positive for Covid-19 will now be immediately admitted to a public health facility in Gauteng that government has identified as one of the hospitals that are ready to receive Covid-19-positive patients," he said.

Eighteen people who were in contact with the first diagnosed South African have been quarantined, while more than 300 people have been tested for the coronavirus, said Mkhize.

READ | 'I'm much better', says man with SA's first case of coronavirus

Isolation vs quarantine

The Department of Health explained the difference between isolation and quarantine.

"Isolation and quarantine are public health practices used to stop or limit the spread of disease.

"Isolation is used to separate ill persons who have a communicable disease from those who are healthy. Isolation restricts the movement of ill persons to help stop the spread of certain diseases. For example, hospitals use isolation for patients with infectious tuberculosis.

"Quarantine is used to separate and restrict the movement of well persons who may have been exposed to a communicable disease to see if they become ill. These people may have been exposed to a disease and do not know it, or they may have the disease but do not show symptoms. Quarantine can also help limit the spread of communicable disease.

"Isolation and quarantine are used to protect the public by preventing exposure to infected persons or to persons who may be infected."

The Witness reported that the man who was first diagnosed was recovering and doing well. 

"I believe I'm on the path to recovery and am feeling much better than I was a few days ago. I remain in self-isolation until I have been given the all-clear. I trust the worst is over and I'm coming to grips with it," he said. 

- Compiled by Riaan Grobler

For more on the Coronavirus and other stories listen to our podcast here on SoundCloud.

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