Entire church congregation being traced in response to coronavirus in Free State
The rate of infections spreading due to the coronavirus is increasing in SA and it was projected that the virus could affect 60% of citizens in the future.
That was the message from the ministry of health on Friday afternoon in an update to its earlier confirmation during the day of there being 202 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the country.
“The rate of spread of the infection is increasing; however this should not prompt a panic response. We must inform the public that it is projected that the virus could affect 60% of citizens in the future,” it said in a statement.
“It must be emphasised that most South Africans will only experience mild symptoms and humans are capable of developing immunity to the virus.”
The majority of people who have tested positive, by province, for Covid-19 are from Gauteng.
The Free State recorded its first case a day ago.
Of the 202 confirmed cases so far, broken down by age, eight of them were one to 10 years old.
The majority of cases (55) were in the 31 to 40 age group, followed by 48 cases in the 51 to 60 years old category. There were 14 confirmed cases in the 61 to 70 age group.
The ministry said in response to confirmed Covid-19 cases in the Free State, certain dynamics had prompted a “specialised response to the outbreak”.
“Five travellers – two from Texas, two from Israel and one from France – entered the country between March 9 and 11 to participate in a church gathering. They subsequently developed symptoms and were thereafter quarantined in their rooms at the bed and breakfast they were residing in,” it said.
“Since then they have remained quarantined in that B&B and the staff that came into contact with the patients have also been quarantined within the B&B.
“Having learnt from the outbreak of Daegu and the situation of the Princess Diamond ship, it is necessary to treat the entire congregation of this particular church gathering as a high risk situation. As such, a call has been made for all members of this congregation who were present at the church conference to co-operate and collaborate in a process that will ensure that up to 600 tests can be done for all individuals who came into contact with these patients.”
The Red Cross stepped in to help by offering 282 volunteers to assist with tracing the contacts.
“The National Institute of Communicable Diseases will deploy a mobile testing unit with all necessary devices needed to conduct the tests.”