No coronavirus case in SA yet, but authorities remain on high alert

The NICD has tested 116 people for the deadly virus, which has infected more than 77,000 people

25 February 2020 - 13:03 By khanyisile ngcobo
Only one African nation, Egypt, has had a confirmed case, but South Africa has been identified as one of three countries on the continent African at greatest risk of importing the virus.
Only one African nation, Egypt, has had a confirmed case, but South Africa has been identified as one of three countries on the continent African at greatest risk of importing the virus. 
Image: 123RF/lightwise

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) has again reassured South Africans that there has been no confirmed case of COVID-19 in the country, but that it remains on high alert.

The NICD, a division of the National Health Laboratory Service, said 116 people have been tested for SARS-CoV-2, of whom 68 were under investigation (PIU). All the results came back negative.

“The NICD can confirm that South Africa has not had a confirmed case of COVID-19. Should there be a positive case, the NICD will announce it.

“We, however, continue to work closely with international bodies and the World Health Organisation (WHO) to intensify our preparedness for a possible case of COVID-19 that may reach South Africa.

“Surveillance activities are ongoing and we continue to provide guidance documents, for the South African context, to public and health-care professionals to strengthen general understanding of COVID-19 and rapid detection.”

The institute has urged citizens who develop symptoms of respiratory illness, including cough, fever and shortness of breath, during and after travel to affected countries to seek medical care early and to share information about their travel history with health-care providers.

COVID-19 has claimed 2,663 lives in China, with more than 77,000 infections reported.

Outside China, South Korea has recorded the most infections, with almost 1,000 cases reported. 

Only one African nation, Egypt, has had a confirmed case, but South Africa has been identified as one of three countries on the continent at greatest risk of importing the virus. 

• The general public hotline number is 0800 029 999 and operates Monday to Friday between 8am-4pm.

— Additional reporting by AFP