17 people test positive to coronavirus in South Africa as Chinese man transmits the disease in SA

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South Africa's health ministry on Thursday reported the first case of local transmission of the coronavirus, saying a 32-year-old man had contracted it after coming into contact with a Chinese businessman.

"All others (cases) have been by patients who had traveled abroad," the ministry said in a statement, adding that the number of confirmed cases had risen to 17 from 13 on Wednesday.

The number of coronavirus infections in SA has increased to 17, the health ministry said on Thursday.

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And one of the new patients, in the Free State, is the first case of local transmission of the illness.

“This is an additional four cases from [Wednesday] ,” said health ministry spokesperson Lwazi Manzi in a statement.

The Mpumalanga and Free State provinces have registered their first cases.

In Mpumalanga, the patient is a 27-year-old woman who had travelled to the US.

“She returned to SA on the 7th March 2020,” Manzi said.

In the Free State, a 32-year-old man has tested positive.

“[He] came into contact with a Chinese businessman. This is the first case of local transmission, as all others have been by patients who had travelled abroad,” Manzi said.

Another case was registered in KwaZulu-Natal.

Manzi said the patient is a 38-year-man who is originally from Durban but now lives in Turkey. He was however, in the country, visiting his family.

“He had travelled to the UK and returned to SA on the 7th March 2020,” Manzi said.

In Gauteng, the latest infection recorded was that of a 43-year-old man.

The Johannesburg resident had travelled to New York via Dubai and returned to SA on March 8 2020.

“At this stage, all patients are in self-quarantine and have mild-to-moderate symptoms,” Manzi said.

“They are also on symptomatic treatment.”

Officials are trying to trace all the people who have come into contact with those who have since tested positive.


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