The National Institute for Communicable Diseases confirmed that a suspected case of COVID-19 has tested positive. The patient is a 38-year-old male who travelled to Italy with his wife. They were part of a group of 10 people and they arrived back in South Africa on March 1, 2020.
The patient consulted a private general practitioner on March 3, with symptoms of fever, headache, malaise, a sore throat and a cough. The practise nurse took swabs and delivered it to the lab.
The patient has been self-isolating since March 3. The couple also has two children.
The Emergency Operating Centre (EOC) has identified the contacts by interviewing the
patient and doctor. The tracer team has been deployed to KwaZulu-Natal with epidemiologists and clinicians from NICD. The doctor has been self-isolated as well.
This media briefing is to ensure that the public is immediately kept abreast.
It has taken more than two months for the virus to reach South African from mainland China, where it originated. Globally the number of confirmed cases tops 96,000 with more than 3,300 people have died.
Other African countries with confirmed cases include Nigeria, Senegal, Egypt and Algeria. While countries like South Africa have prepared for the arrival of the coronavirus, smaller African economies with poor health-care systems may struggle to contain the outbreak.
The spread of the new virus can remain “minimal and slow” if the outbreak is fought at the source and countries cooperate, the World Health Organization’s chief said. The WHO declared the outbreak of coronavirus in China a global health emergency on Jan. 30.