Durban – The country's first person to test positive for coronavirus says he wants to go home.
According to National Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize, the Hilton resident still needed to be given official medical clearance before he can head home.
"On Sunday, I had an opportunity to speak to the first confirmed patient. He was upbeat and jovial. I also spoke to the doctor who is treating him. She confirmed that this patient is responding well and is now asymptomatic. At the right time, as determined by the treating doctors, the patient will be retested to check his recovery progress," Mkhize said.
He said the man will still undergo clinical observations and guidelines that are recommended to be followed in instances of asymptomatic patients.
"These will be based on the World Health Organisations guidelines and treatment methodology and disease management approaches that countries like China -which have presented a very high recovery rate- have used in dealing with asymptomatic patients," Mkhize said.
On Sunday, the Health Ministry confirmed that the man's wife was the third person to test positive for the virus. The second person, a Gauteng resident, tested positive on Saturday. The three were part of a group of 10 people who travelled to Italy.
Mkhize said they are awaiting results of six more people who travelled to Italy within the next 48 hours. The tenth person did not land in SA, Mkhize said.
He further said the couple's children were tested and their results were negative.
"However, as part of taking extra precautions, these children will remain in self quarantine until their parents have tested negative. At that point, they will also be tested to ensure that they remain negative. Until then they will be regarded as potentially infected. This means they will continue not attend school. This is in an effort to curb the risk of spread to other children and teachers," Mkhize said.
Meanwhile, Dr Robyn Reed, the doctor who first treated the Hilton man, said she was also in good health.
In an interview with Rapport, Reed said she found all the fuss to be "irritating".
"But I feel absolutely fine and my nurse and I are not ill. I am doing some gardening and find all the fuss quite irritating," she said.
– The Mercury