The Western Cape Government has been informed by the National Institute of Communicable Disease (NICD) and National Department of Health, that there has been a laboratory confirmed case of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in KwaZulu-Natal; South Africa. There is still no laboratory confirmed cases in the Western Cape at this stage.
This case was confirmed in Kwazulu-Natal on 5 March 2020. The 38-year-old male travelled to Italy with his wife. They were part of a group of 10 people and they arrived back in South Africa on March 1, 2020. The patient consulted a private general practitioner on March 3, with symptoms of fever, headache, malaise, a sore throat and a cough. The practice nurse took swabs and delivered it to the lab and has since tested positive. The patient has been self-isolating since March 3.
Health authorities, in association with NICD, are following up all the known contacts of this patient. Contacts will be followed up and monitored for the next two weeks, as per the World Health Organisation guidelines.
We realise that the public will be concerned about this announcement, but we urge all residents to remain calm. South Africa has tried-and-tested systems in place to address such scenarios, and we have taken steps to prepare accordingly.
Indeed, the Western Cape Department of Health set out our readiness for a potential case in this province earlier this week (www.westerncape.gov.za/coronavirus), and we will be cooperating fully with all partners, the NICD and national government, as we have done to date.
We urge the public to remain calm and follow normal infection prevention control measures. This includes good personal hand hygiene practice and coughing etiquette (see poster attached). If flu-like symptoms occur, please follow normal practice to visit a health facility and report any specific details regarding overseas travel or potential exposure to people with the virus.
The current case definition includes flu-symptoms (with coughing) AND overseas travel or exposure to people from areas where the virus has been detected.
The public is urged to support any request by health authorities for contact testing and isolation if required. We can assure you that all provincial health authorities are on alert, ports are being monitored and the provincial and national emergency centres will advise on further measures to contain the spread of the virus.
We urge members of the public to continue to use our recently launched platform: www.westerncape.gov.za/coronavirus to stay up-dated with credible information as well as contact the Public Hotline on 08600 029 999.
The Western Cape Government wishes the patient well with his recovery.