Six more coronavirus infections in SA, bringing total to 13

11 March 2020 - 10:20 By Naledi Shange

On March 10 2020, President Cyril Ramaphosa met the team heading to Wuhan in Hubei, China, to repatriate 122 South Africans. Ramaphosa said he has employed 151 members of the defence force to support the department of health in returning the South Africans.

The health ministry on Wednesday confirmed another six cases of the coronavirus in SA.

This brings the number of patients to 13.

Four of those infected are in Gauteng.

One is a 33-year-old woman, who returned from Italy on March 1. The other two are a couple, aged 34 and 33, who travelled to Germany and returned to SA on March 9.

A 57-year-old man, who travelled to Austria and Italy, is also on the list. He returned to SA on March 9.

KwaZulu-Natal has one confirmed case.

The patient is a 40-year-old man, who travelled to Portugal and returned to SA on March 7.

In the Western Cape, a 36-year-old man, who travelled to multiple countries, including Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Turkey, has tested positive.

He returned to SA on March 9. 

“All the patients have now been advised. Those who are symptomatic have started receiving treatment,” said ministry spokesperson Dr Lwazi Manzi. 

“Some of these patients are already in hospital, while some, specifically those who are asymptomatic, are in self quarantine,” she added.

The National Institute for Communication (NICD) said as of Tuesday, 3,642 people had been tested in SA.

“We confirm that we have identified six new confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the country. This brings the total number of laboratory-confirmed Covid-19 cases in South Africa to 13,” the NICD said in a statement.

“The additional cases were not part of the group of 10 people who travelled to Italy. The patients have since been isolated and are receiving care at a designated health care facility. All tracing of possible contacts that the patients may have been in contact with are being traced.

“The identification of additional imported cases of Covid-19 is not unexpected and is likely related to increasing numbers of cases in other parts of the world, leading to increased importation risks.”

All the cases identified to date had been in travellers from affected countries. “At this time there is no indication that Covid-19 is circulating widely in the community in South Africa.”

The NICD said to ensure an effective response to Covid-19 it had expanded testing for Sars-CoV-2 to include other public health laboratories in the National Health Laboratory Service and laboratories in the private sector.

“It is important to note that testing of persons who meet the case definition is free at the NICD and testing is conducted 24 hours, seven days a week. Active surveillance for Covid-19 among individuals with acute respiratory symptoms will be fast-tracked to understand the spread of Covid-19. If a private laboratory identifies a positive case, samples will be sent to the NICD to verify and confirm the results.”