Coronavirus in SA | Timeline of Covid-19 in the last 2 weeks


With 38 positive cases of Covid-19 in South Africa, the repatriation of South African living in Wuhan, China, and the World Health Organisation declaring Covid-19 a pandemic, the past two weeks have seen South Africans gripped by the virus, which has spread like wildfire across the globe.

Here is timeline of the past two week to refresh your memory.  

DEVELOPING | SA Coronavirus cases rise to 38, South Africans in Wuhan return home

1 March 2020:

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize kicks off the month of March with a media briefing at OR Tambo International Airport, formally announcing the government's plan to repatriate South Africans citizens studying and working in Wuhan, China – the epicentre of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Mkhize announces that the two South African crew members on the Princess Diamond cruise ship who tested positive for Covid-19 are recovering in Japan.

5 March:

Mkhize announces South Africa's first positive case of Covid-19 in KwaZulu-Natal. A 38-year-old man has tested positive for the virus after returning from a trip to Italy.

He was part of a group of 10 people who travelled to Italy and arrived back in South Africa on 1 March.

6 March:

A South African teacher in Daegu, South Korea, is tested positive for Covid-19. Hein Cloete, 39, who has been teaching in South Korea since 2012 is quarantined.

Back home in South Africa, 16 students who arrived back in Limpopo from China self-isolate despite testing negative for Covid-19.

The students from the Capricorn FET College in Limpopo had been in the Henan province in China, the Limpopo Department of Health says.

7 March:

Mkhize confirms South Africa's second case of Covid-19. A 39-year-old woman from Gauteng is diagnosed with the virus after returning from Italy with the same group of 10. Mkhize says the woman was admitted to a hospital in Gauteng and that the department will follow up with the rest of the Italian group.

8 March:

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases confirms a third case of Covid-19 in SA.

9 March:

Four more cases of Covid-19 are announced, bringing the total number of cases in South Africa to seven. The four were part of the group of 10 travellers who recently returned to South Africa from Italy.

At this point, cases are only recorded in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

A National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) worker faces disciplinary hearing for spreading false information about cases of Covid-19 at Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital in Umlazi, KwaZulu-Natal.

The worker allegedly sent fake information through a voice note which was widely shared thereafter.

Grayston Preparatory School in Sandton closes for a day following concerns that one of its teachers had contact with the 10 people who recently returned from Italy.

The teacher is reportedly put in isolation and the Gauteng Department of Basic Education visits the school to get more information.

10 March:

Ramaphosa sees off the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to Wuhan from OR Tambo International Airport.

The SANDF leaves South Africa to assist in the repatriation of 122 South Africans living in Wuhan.

11 March:

Six new cases of Covid-19 are confirmed, bringing the total to 13.

The World Health Organisation announces Covid-19 is now a pandemic.

"This is the first pandemic caused by a coronavirus," says WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at a media briefing in Geneva.

The WHO says there are now more than 118 000 cases in 114 countries, while 4 291 people have died.

"We are deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction," says Ghebreyesus, adding that pandemic was not a word to use lightly or carelessly.

The second patient to be diagnosed with Covid-19 is released from Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital in Johannesburg.

The Gauteng woman is to remain under observation by the NICD and hospital staff while she is isolated at home.

One patient who tested positive is now critical, suffering with renal disease, according to the Gauteng health department.

The patient, 57, had comorbidity, meaning the presence of one or more conditions in addition to the primary condition.

The Western Cape confirms its first positive case of Covid-19.

12 March:

Mkhize announces three more cases of Covid-19, bringing the total to 16 in South Africa. The cases are identified in KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and Mpumalanga.

The Department of Basic Education issues a circular to schools on how to deal with Covid-19, telling them to prepare for a possible outbreak.

Government announces that the location of the quarantine site where the 122 South Africans from Wuhan will stay will be in one of Protea Hotel's Polokwane hotels called The Ranch Resort in Limpopo.

13 March:

The NICD announces eight new cases of Covid-19, bringing the total to 24. The NICD says 10 cases have been recorded in KwaZulu-Natal, 10 in Gauteng, three in the Western Cape and one in Mpumalanga.

A Wits University student is quarantined while awaiting results, but shows no symptoms of the virus.

The Ranch Resort in Polokwane goes into lockdown in preparation for the 122 South Africans who are to arrive from Wuhan on the same day.

The Gauteng health department backtracks on its comments regarding the critical patient who is also suffering from a renal disease, and says he is no longer critical as stated earlier, and is doing well. 

14 March: 

One hundred and fourteen South Africans are repatriated back from Wuhan, with several deciding to remain behind. After the groups' arrival at Polokwane airport they are whisked off in four buses to the Ranch Resort to begin their 21 days of quarantine, along with crew and SANDF and SAPS officials who assisted in the repatriation effort.

On Saturday afternoon, Mkhize announces that there are now 38 positive Covid-19 cases in the country, after 14 new cases were confirmed. Among those cases is a 14-year-old girl from the Western Cape, making her the country's first case under 18.

The department says seven new cases were confirmed in Gauteng, six new cases in the Western Cape and one in KwaZulu-Natal.

To stay abreast of News24's rolling coverage on Covid-19 outbreak follow this link to our dedicated coronavirus site. 

For more on the coronavirus and the experiences of South Africans living in Italy under quarantine, listen to our podcast on SoundCloud.

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