Four children, the youngest aged two, are among 23 new Covid-19 cases in SA.
The health ministry confirmed on Tuesday night that the number of cases had risen to 85. It also revealed that six of the new cases, including three of the four children, had not travelled outside the country.
“It is notable that there are eight cases of local transmission,” said minister Dr Zweli Mkhize.
Zweli Mkhize announced just before midnight on Tuesday that South Africa had 85 confirmed cases of Covid-19, an increase of 23 from Monday’s announcement.
Six more infections were confirmed among people who had not left South Africa, with the majority residing in Gauteng. Two patients are just two and three years old respectively, while the oldest among the batch of new confirmations is 62, a woman who travelled to the UK and Ethiopia.
The breakdown per province was as follows:
-A 45-year-old male who had travelled to Belgium, UK , France and the US
-A 37-year-old male who had travelled to the UK
-A 54-year-old female who had travelled to the USA
-A 52-year-old male who had travelled to the UK
-A 25-year-old male who travelled to the UK
-A 52-year-old female who had travelled to Italy
-A 59-year-old male who travelled to the UK and Dubai
-A 57-year-old male who travelled to the USA
-A 60-year-old male who travelled to the USA
-A 37-year-old female who travelled to Italy and Dubai
-A 21-year-old female with no travel history
-A 34-year-old male with no international travel history
-A 26-year-old female with no international travel history
-A 32-year-old female with no international travel history
-A 48-year-old male who travelled to Dubai
-A 59-year-old female with no international travel history
-A 5-year-old with no international travel history
-A 3-year-old male with no international travel history
WESTERN CAPE: 5
-A 3-year-old male who travelled to the UK
-A 58-year-old male who travelled to the UK and Austria
-A 2-year-old male with no international travel
-A 62-year-old female who travelled to the UK and Ethiopia
-A 71-year-old female who travelled to the UK
Mkhize said it was “notable” that there were six further cases of local transmission.
He said he’d been forced to make a decision on the correct approach regarding releasing results.
“I must inform the public that there was a debate with clinicians, epidemiologists, virologists on when we, as government, must release results to the public. These experts raised an issue of an ethical obligation to immediately alert patients as soon as the results become available. This therefore means that by the time a confirmation test is conducted in public laboratories, patients would have been notified of their initial results. This clarification is important because, as government, we had announced to the public that all positive results will be verified through our public laboratories and the NICD.”
He said that in an effort to ensure transparency, they had decided to release results as they were submitted by both public and private labs, even if this meant that it would mean having to reverse an announcement if the confirmation proved the initial result was a false positive.
“In instances where our confirmation tests give contrary results, we will inform the public, make reference to that specific result previously announced and give the outcome of the confirmation results. Whilst we respect that private laboratories have the capacity to test and on their own issue results, our intention and approach is to ensure that there is credibility in the information and results given to the public.
“Whilst we appreciate the importance of being transparent with South Africans, we will not do so irresponsibly and not take into account all clinical and any other broader implications of the information we give to you.”
A group of 114 South Africans who were trapped in Wuhan, China, since last year, and then repatriated at the instruction of President Cyril Ramaphosa to a hotel in Limpopo, were also tested. All of them proved to be free of the virus, said the minister.
“It gives us great pleasure to announce to South Africans that all the citizens from Wuhan were tested and their results came back negative for Covid-19. We continue to keep them in quarantine for the prescribed period and will thereafter initiate the process of reunifying them with the community.”
The group was put into precautionary quarantine on Saturday at the Protea Ranch Hotel near Polokwane, and are still under lockdown by the SAPS and the military. They are being observed for at least two to three weeks before being given the all-clear.
Mkhize said last week that the first 14 days would be the most critical, as two weeks is known to be the period that the disease can lie dormant without someone showing any symptoms. They would add a week just to be safe.
The minister added that during their 21 days at the hotel the facilities would be secured and patrolled by both the army and the police, not because the people were infected or being treated as criminals, but merely to ensure that the quarantine is observed conscientiously.