Disaster as second patient tests positive to coronavirus in South Africa

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Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize has announced that a second case of COVID-19 has now been confirmed in South Africa.

On Thursday it was announced that a KwaZulu-Natal man who had travelled back from Italy on Sunday was the first confirmed case in South Africa.

The first patient in South Africa is a 38-year old man who travelled from Italy, via Dubai, into King Shaka International Airport near Durban.
At a briefing on Friday, held at Cowan House Preparatory School in Hilton, minister of health Zweli Mkhize confirmed that the man didn't present any symptoms upon arrival on 1 March. He then went to see his doctor on 3 March after he became sick. The doctor who initially treated him is in self-isolation.

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On Thursday, the patient was taken taken to Grey's Hospital in Pietermaritzburg for medical attention.

The second patient is a 39-year-old lady from Gauteng who is a direct contact to the first case from KwaZulu-Natal. She was part of the group of 10 that had travelled to Italy.

"The public must be notified that we have information and know the whereabouts of all the other 10 people who were part of the group that had travelled to Italy. All those who came back to South Africa, are currently being tested. We are now awaiting their test results to come out. Since being traced, they have remained in isolation to avoid any further contact with third parties," said the Health Ministry in a statement released on Saturday.

"The second patient who has now tested positive for COV-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.

"We are now following all the protocols that we have already publicly announced to the public in dealing with this case. We will keep the public fully informed on all relevant developments.

"We also wish to notify the public that our embassy has advised us that a 39-year-old male South African who works in Daegu, South Korea, has also tested positive for COVID-19. He was due to return to South Africa and has since remained in South Korea. We are now following up with the South Korean authorities firstly to obtain formal confirmation of this case and also the details of where our citizen is being treated.

"We continue to call for calm and cooperation from the public and the media during this period. We also request that the privacy of the patients, the affected individuals and families be respected.

"Our commitment to do everything in our power to mitigate against the uncontrollable spread of COVID-19 in our country, remains."

Despite the confirmation of the first case of coronavirus in South Africa, health authorities and the National Institute for Communicable Diseases have stressed that there's no need for panic as it's treatable and that most people who have become infected, experience mild illness and recover.

People should, however, continue to follow hygienic practices such as regular handwashing, and if they experience the simultaneous symptoms of fever, coughing and difficulty breathing, they should seek early medical care.

Mkhize said the positive test for the novel coronavirus in South Africa was from a sample taken on 3 March.

As of Thursday night, government officials were contacting those who were seated near the first Mzansi coronavirus patient on both planes.

Tracer teams are now active in KwaZulu-Natal, tracking down others he may have had contact with. Direct contacts such as family will be placed into quarantine, and a broader group of contacts will be checked for symptoms such as fever, Mkhize said on Thursday.

Mkhize said the infected man's symptoms were not very severe, but he was "uncomfortable".


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