South Africa Coronavirus Update: First Case of COVID-19 Coronavirus Reported

South Africa Coronavirus Update

South Africa has also been affected by the ongoing pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).  On March 5, 2020, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases confirmed that a suspected case of COVID-19 has tested positive. Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize confirmed that the virus spread to South Africa, with the first known patient being a male citizen, 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. A press briefing will be held later after the parliamentary debate this evening to shed more light on this issue.

COVID-19 Coronavirus Prevention 

  • We urge the public to continue practising hand hygiene and cough etiquette, and adhering to the following:
  • Avoid close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections.
  • Practice frequent hand-washing, especially after direct contact with ill people or their environment.
  • Avoid visiting markets where live animals are sold.
  • Travellers with symptoms of acute respiratory infection should practice cough etiquette (maintain distance, cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing and wash hands).
  • Health practitioners should provide travellers with information to reduce the general risk of acute respiratory infections, via travel health clinics, travel agencies, conveyance operators and at points of entry. Travellers should self-report if they feel ill.