South Africa has just recorded its first case of the coronavirus from a 38-year-old man who was on a visit to Italy with his wife.
According to South Africa’s Health Minister Dr. Zweli Mkhize, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases confirmed that a suspected case of Covid-19 has tested positive.
The minister added that the man has a family of 2 children and was part of a group of 10 people who returned from a trip to Italy on 1 March.
The man and the Doctor who checked him upon his return to South Africa were both in self-isolation since March 3, the minister said.
A tracer team had been sent to the eastern province of KwaZulu-Natal to identify people who might have been in contact with the man and the Doctor, Dr Mkhize said.
A statement from the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) website said that the case has been isolated and containment measures are ongoing including the monitoring of contacts. It is important to note that the identification of a single imported case in a traveler from an area with widespread community transmission does not mean that COVID-19 is currently spreading in South African communities. The risk to the general community of acquiring COVID-19 remains low.
And the NICD wished to stress that the evidence available to date suggests that the vast majority of cases of COVID-19 (>80%) have mild illness and severe illness is predominantly in the elderly and those with underlying illnesses who are also at risk of other respiratory infections.
They also urge South Africans to reduce the risk of acquiring COVID-19 and other respiratory infections by practicing good hand hygiene: frequent correct hand washing, cough hygiene, staying at home when ill and keeping distance away from sick people with respiratory illness.
In total, this brings the number of coronavirus cases reported in Africa to 27. Algeria is the worst-affected African country, with 17 cases, 16 of them from the same family.
Over 100 people in Italy have died as a result of the coronavirus, while over 3,000 people have tested positive for the disease.
The world has so far recorded 90,000 confirmed coronavirus cases with China carrying the vast majority.