Coronavirus: Two in KZN isolated

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(File, AFP)
(File, AFP)

KwaZulu-Natal is currently going through “coronavirus scares” and two people are in isolation for treatment.

KZN Department of Health spokesperson Noluthando Nkosi confirmed on Thursday that the department is aware of two suspected coronavirus cases.

Nkosi said at the moment, there is no laboratory confirmation of the two cases.

“One case is being handled by the department at one of its facilities, and the other one is currently being managed by a private facility in Durban,” said Nkosi.

She said the department is monitoring the treatment and management of these patients closely.

“Members of the public will be duly notified of any new developments. Otherwise, the department would like to appeal to ... Kwa­Zulu-Natal to remain calm and avoid being misled by false statements which are peddled on social media platforms,” Nkosi said.

The Witness believes that a 28-year-old man from the King Cetshwayo District was transferred to Grey’s Hospital on Monday after he developed a high fever and other symptoms consistent with a respiratory disease, which has killed more than 500 people since November.

According to an e-mail sent to staff at Grey’s, which has been seen by The Witness, the teacher travelled to Hangzhou in China and returned home on January 18.

He was admitted to Eshowe Hospital before being transferred to Grey’s Hospital.

“He became sick on February 2 with a sore throat, fever, cough and runny nose. Temperature is normal. There was no contact with any confirmed case. Specimens were collected. Awaiting results,” read the e-mail.

Grey’s is one of the country’s designated hospitals that will act as an emergency centre to treat those suspected to have the coronavirus.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 20 630 people have contracted the virus, which to date has led to 565 deaths. While most of these cases were reported in China, 159 cases and one death have been reported in 23 other countries.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize and health officials from the WHO and the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) said South Africa remained on high alert.

Mkhize said that there was no evidence to support repatriation or emergency evacuations of South African citizens in China.

“We have remained vigilant on the development regarding the movement and behaviour of the viral infection across the world and we continue to engage with the international academic fraternity to better understand how this virus behaves,” he said.

Mkhize reiterated that South Africa was adequately prepared for active surveillance, early detection, isolation, case management, contact tracing and prevention of infection.

On Thursday, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) tweeted that there have been no confirmed cases of the coronavirus in South Africa.

“We have tested a number of samples and none tested positive. We continue to intensify our surveillance systems and preparedness should a case reach out borders,” it said.

Meanwhile on Thursday, Premier Sihle Zikalala said KZN has been beset by a number of hoaxes, suspicions and other forms of speculation.

“We are satisfied with the measures in place at our ports, where contingents of health officials are routinely conducting temperature screening for international travellers in general, and adopting strict surveillance of visitors,” said Zikalala.

In China, 73 people died from the virus over the 24 hours to midnight on Wednesday, China’s National Health Commission said yesterday, taking the toll to 563.

Most of the deaths were in Hubei, the province surrounding Wuhan, but there were three deaths elsewhere — in Tianjin and Heilongjiang in the northeast and Guizhou in the southwest.

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