Covid-19 and SA: How the numbers have risen

19 March 2020 - 09:14 By Cebelihle Bhengu
By Wednesday SA had recorded 116 cases of Covid-19.
By Wednesday SA had recorded 116 cases of Covid-19.
Image: 123RF/Jarun Ontakrai

As government tightens measures to slow the spread of coronavirus in SA, the health ministry on Wednesday morning announced a spike in the number of people who have tested positive. The total stands at 116.

President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a national state of disaster on Sunday, implementing strict travel bans, limiting public gatherings to not more than 100 people and closing schools.

March 5 2020 — Patient zero

A 38-year-old man from Hilton, KwaZulu-Natal, became the first South African to test positive for Covid-9. He had travelled to Italy with his wife and returned to the country on March 1. He consulted a private doctor on March 4.

March 7 2020 — 2

A 39-year old woman from Johannesburg tested positive, after being in direct contact with the KZN man. She was one of 10 people who travelled to Italy and returned on March 1.

Health minister Zweli Mkhize said at the time that the woman would be transferred to a hospital identified by government to treat Covid-19 patients.

March 8 — 3

The wife of the first patient became SA's third case. The 39-year-old was also among the group that travelled to Italy. Mkhize said the couple's two children tested negative.

March 9 — 7

By this time, four more individuals had tested positive. They were all from Pietermaritzburg and part of the 10 who travelled to Italy. Of the four, two were a couple. Only the woman had complained of symptoms. The man didn't show any.

The others were 38-year old and 45-year-old men. The minister said they were asked to quarantine themselves.

March 11 — 13

More travellers, who had visited countries other than Italy, tested positive.

Four were from Gauteng — a 33-year-old woman who travelled to Italy; a couple, aged 34 and 33, who travelled to Germany and returned to SA on March 9; and a 57-year old man who travelled to Austria and Italy.

In KZN, a 40-year-old man who travelled to Portugal and returned to SA on March 7 also tested positive.

The Western Cape reported its first case — a 36-year-old man who travelled to multiple countries, including Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Turkey.

March 13 — 24

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) confirmed that KZN and Gauteng each had 10 cases, with the Western Cape and Mpumalanga registering three and one respectively.

Health minister Zweli Mkhize said all these individuals had travelled outside SA, but none were linked to the initial 10 who went to Italy.

March 14 — 38

By Saturday, SA had registered 38 cases of coronavirus after the department of health announced an additional 14. Mkhize said Gauteng had the majority of cases with seven, followed by the Western Cape with six and KwaZulu-Natal with one.

A 14-year-old girl from the Western Cape became the country's youngest patient. She travelled to the US and Dubai.

Mkhize said all individuals who had been in contact with the group were being traced for testing.

March 15 — 61

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday declared the coronavirus a state of disaster, with a further 61 people having tested positive. He met cabinet members earlier on Sunday to discuss control and preventive measures to slow the spread of the virus.

Ramaphosa announced that schools would be closed from Wednesday and imposed a travel ban on foreigners from high-risk countries, such as Iran, South Korea, Spain, Germany, the US, the UK and China, also from Wednesday.

South Africans were warned against travelling to China, Iran and South Korea.

March 16 — 62

The health department announced on Monday afternoon that coronavirus cases had increased to 62. The NICD confirmed that of these two were local transmissions.

France, the Netherlands and India were some of the countries locals had travelled to.

March 17 — 85

On Tuesday night, the number spiked to 85, including four children, the youngest being two years old. The health ministry said three of them had not travelled outside SA.

This increased local transmissions to eight.

March 18 — 116

On Wednesday morning the figure was up by 31 to 116, with 14 local transmissions. The Western Cape and Gauteng registered most cases, followed by KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga.

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