South Africa’s health ministry has confirmed that in the last 24 hours, four new cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) were recorded in different provinces.
Coronavirus cases in South Africa rise to 17
Already, Mzansi is on the verge of panic mode as it has become clear that despite the notable effort of health officials in containing the virus, it has managed to spread beyond KwaZulu-Natal (SA’s epicentre).
On Thursday, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize confirmed that four new patients are being treated for coronavirus, taking the total of known cases in South Africa to 17.
Mkhize revealed that Mpumalanga and Free State have registered their first cases. With regards to the latter, a 32-year-old male has become the first patient to contract coronavirus through local transmission
“[He] came into contact with a Chinese businessman. This is the first case of local transmission, as all others have been by patients who had travelled abroad,” health ministry spokesperson Lwazi Manzi stated.
In Mpumalanga, a 27-year-old woman returned from the United States (US) on Saturday 7 March and tested positive for COVID-19.
The two other cases were reported in KZN and Gauteng.
“At this stage, all patients are in self-quarantine and have mild-to-moderate symptoms. They are also on symptomatic treatment,” the ministry confirmed.
NICD expands testing to public, private labs
The National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) has expanded testing of coronavirus “to include other public health laboratories in the NHLS and laboratories in the private sector.”
“It is important to note that testing of persons who meet the case definition is free of charge 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,” the organisation indicated in a statement released on social media.
At this time, South Africa has not recorded any deaths as a result of coronavirus.