Last week on one of the radio stations the presenters were joking about the Coronavirus. They were saying that there were only 2 confirmed cases on the African continent. Little did they know that this week there would be a confirmed case in South Africa.
The World Health Organisation explains the virus as follows: Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.
Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people. Detailed investigations found that SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to humans. Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans.
Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing. (https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus)
This morning, 5 March, the first confirmed case of the Coronavirus was confirmed in South Africa by the Minister of Health, Minister Zweli Mkhize.
The Minister tweeted the following on his official account: “This morning, Thursday, March 5, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) confirmed that a suspected case of COVID-19 has tested positive. The patient is a 38-year-old male, who travelled to Italy with his wife. They were part of a group of 10 people and they arrived back in South Africa on 1 March 2020.”
This announcement was made on Twitter moments before a Parliamentary debate on South Africa’s readiness to deal with Coronavirus (COVD-19).
The patient consulted a private general practitioner on Tuesday, 3 March, with symptoms of fever, headache, malaise, a sore throat and a cough according to the Minster. The practice nurse took swabs and delivered it to the lab. The patient has been self-isolating since 3 March. The couple has two children.
“The tracer team has been deployed to KwaZulu-Natal with epidemiologists and clinicians from NICD. The doctor has been self-isolating as well. The Emergency Operating Centre (EOC) has identified the contacts by interviewing the patient and doctor,” said Minister Mkhize.
A media briefing will be held after the Parliamentary debate by the Minister to ensure that the public is kept up to date.
“A press briefing will be held later after the parliamentary debate this evening to shed more light on this issue,” said Mkhize.
Follow this link to watch the full media briefing on the Coronavirus in South Africa: https://youtu.be/PtxCrNqHUYY
This video was streamed live by SABCNews. – Ané Prinsloo