SA medics receiving training in case coronavirus hits our shores

03 March 2020 - 16:23 By Naledi Shange
South Africa is training medical professionals to deal with coronavirus cases if and when the outbreak reaches the country.
South Africa is training medical professionals to deal with coronavirus cases if and when the outbreak reaches the country.
Image: GALLO IMAGES/AFP/BERND THISSEN

SA’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) on Tuesday said it had joined other African countries in preparing for a coronavirus outbreak.

In a statement, the institute said it had intensified its “monitoring, engagement and the training of health care professionals across SA to scale up response and detection of Covid-19.

“We have developed additional resources and tools for those who are indirectly linked to Covid-19 response,” it said.

By Tuesday afternoon, there were no confirmed cases of coronavirus in SA but the NICD said it had noted there were more cases being reported in African countries.

“We have noted the increase of Covid-19 cases in the African region and the route of transmissions. An additional country — Senegal — has confirmed its first case from a French national in the past 24 hours,” the institute said.

It was working with other African countries on an action plan.

“Working with the AU and the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, SA has participated in workshops with fellow member states to expand planning and preparation for Covid-19 within the African region. This will strengthen surveillance and integrate the sharing of information regarding Covid-19 in Africa,” the NICD said.

So far, the institute has tested 164 people who presented symptoms of having the virus.

All the tests have come back negative.

Meanwhile, a call has been issued to the country’s medics to play their part in watching for any suspicious cases.

“The NICD calls on professional health care workers and the public to continue hygienic practices to prevent the spread of Covid-19. This by practising hand hygiene and cough etiquette, and adhering to standards for transmission prevention and practise of self-reporting when having developed symptoms and having travelled from a country where Covid-19 is circulating,” it said.


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