The first Capetonian has been diagnosed with the dreaded novel Coronavirus after returning from an overseas trip on Monday, while three other people have been quarantined at Tygerberg Hospital and are undergoing tests for COVID-19.
National Health Minister, Dr Zwelini Mkhize, confirmed the first case in the Western Cape on Wednesday morning, shortly before Premier Alan Winde and Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo hosted a press conference at Tygerberg Hospital where they unveiled the special isolation ward where carriers of the virus will be treated.
Mkhize says the 36-year-old man recently travelled to Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Turkey and returned on Monday.
The Daily Voice can reveal that the man is from Muizenberg and went to his family doctor on Monday and opted to self-isolate in his home.
Asked why the man was not in hospital, Winde told the Daily Voice: “He is not sick, he just presented with the symptoms.”
Meanwhile also on Monday, at about 7pm, a 31-year-old man walked into Lakeside Fire Station and told firefighters he had been “in contact with Asians” and had symptoms of COVID-19.
City Fire and Rescue Services spokesperson, Jermaine Carelse, says medics wore protective equipment and examined the man before contacting the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) hotline for advice.
A doctor, who was dispatched to the fire station, diagnosed “a likely viral stomach infection” and advised the man to see his GP.
On Wednesday Dr Wayne Smith of the Health Department said officials were busy tracing everyone the patient may have come into contact with since landing on Monday.
These include people on his flight, family and friends.
“We are busy with it and working closely with the airlines and other roleplayers,” said Smith.
Worryingly, government has no way to keep track on people self- isolating.
Mbombo says they are relying on people’s trust and sense of responsibility not to spread the virus.
“That is the protocol (that the department relies on trust that the patient will self-isolate).”
Meanwhile, South Africa’s tally of COVID-19 jumped to 13 after six new cases were confirmed, including the one in the Western Cape, four in Gauteng, and one in Kwa-Zulu Natal.
“Those who are symptomatic have started receiving treatment. Some of these patients are already in hospital while some, specifically those who are asymptomatic, are in self-quarantine. Contact tracing has also started for all these cases. It is also noteworthy that to date, 3642 tests have been conducted (in SA),” said Mkhize.
The first seven people who tested positive for COVID-19 in South Africa are from KZN and Gauteng and were all part of a group who had returned from a trip to Italy last week.
According to the latest report by the World Health Organisation, just over 121 000 people have tested positive for the virus in over 100 countries, with 4382 deaths and nearly 67 000 recoveries.
– Daily Voice