Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has confirmed that South Africa has recorded its first positive test case for the Covid-19 coronavirus.
Mkhize released a statement on Thursday confirming that the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NCID) confirmed a positive test.
While it was not clear at which port of entry the patient landed, Mkhize said that a tracer team has been deployed to KwaZulu-Natal. The man is now self-isolated.
“The patient is a 38-year-old male who travelled to Italy with his wife. They were part of a group of 10 people and they arrived back in South Africa on 1 March,” Mkhize said in the statement.
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“The patient consulted a private general practitioner on 3 March with symptoms of fever, headache, malaise, a sore throat and a cough.”
The practice nurse then took swabs and delivered it to the laboratory. The patient has been self-isolating since 3 March.
“The couple also has two children. The Emergency Operating Centre (EOC) has identified the contacts by interviewing the patient and doctor. The tracer team has been deployed to KwaZulu-Natal with epidemiologists and clinicians from the NICD.”
Mkhize said the doctor has been self-isolated as well.
“This media briefing is to ensure that the public is immediately kept abreast. A press briefing will be held later after the Parliamentary debate this evening to shed more light on this issue.”