KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala has welcomed the news that the first two South Africans who contracted the coronavirus are back home from hospital.
One of them is “patient zero”, a 38-year-old man from Hilton in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, who was confirmed as SA's first Covid-19 patient almost two weeks ago. The second patient is understood to be his wife.
Both were in isolation at Grey's Hospital in Pietermaritzburg after they contracted the virus while on an Italian ski trip.
Since then, SA has had 202 confirmed coronavirus cases. No deaths have been reported.
Zikalala was speaking on the sidelines of the first meeting of the provincial command team (PCT) on Friday — tasked with providing a comprehensive response to the coronavirus pandemic in the province.
The PCT, according to the premier's office, is the highest level intervention structure co-ordinated by Zikalala and comprises MECs, HODs and key stakeholders including Correctional Services and the SA Police Service.
Zikalala said the news of the speedy recovery of the two patients “signalled hope amid the despair and gloom” sparked by the spread of Covid-19 in the country.
“This development (the recuperation of the first two patients) inspires hope in line with KZN's coronavirus battle mantra 'Siyayinqoba (We will conquer) the coronavirus pandemic'.
“This is very important as it dispels fear among our people and confirms that coronavirus is curable through early medical intervention and through people heeding precautions laid out by government,” said Zikalala.
Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu also expressed satisfaction at the news, citing the capability and professionalism in the public health care system to deal with major outbreaks such as the coronavirus.
During the meeting Zikalala also announced an intensive ground mobilisation programme, which includes all MECs visiting various districts to lead education and awareness programmes and to conduct assessments of readiness and the availability of required infrastructure.
The programme kicks off on Wednesday March 25.