CORRECTION: The headline and details of this story have been corrected
The World Health Organisation (WHO) says South Africa is well resourced to cope with any outbreak of the coronavirus and the WHO is working with South African authorities regarding the activation of necessary resources if required.
South Africa has been classed as a priority-one country because of the large number of travellers to and from the country – among other things.
The WHO is offering urgent support in certain areas regarding preparations to deal with the coronavirus.
The WHO has deployed personnel to countries in Africa, including South Africa. It says it has been assessing the continent’s preparedness.
Globally, close to 86 000 people have been infected in over 50 countries and almost 3 000 people have died from COVID 19 – the vast majority in China.
On the African continent, cases have been confirmed in Egypt, Nigeria and Algeria.
Technical Officer at the WHO Regional Office for Africa, Dr Mary Stephens, says they will continue to assist South Africa and other countries.
“The major areas we saw challenges with regards to preparedness was the areas of infection prevention and control and also case management. What we are doing is to provide targeted support to these countries in addressing those areas with greatest need. We have deployed experts to most of the priority one countries including South Africa and a lot of the priority two countries to help them address those gaps in those critical areas where we think they need urgent support.”
Joined via skype Dr Mary Stephens says the communities need the correct information on the virus itself.
The Organisation says if the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus hits Africa, it is ready to respond effectively and provide additional support to countries within 48 hours.
As the spread of the deadly coronavirus shows no sign of abating with Qatar now confirming its first case.
South Africa and coronavirus
Health Minister, Zweli Mkhize has appealed to South Africans not to cause unnecessary panic over the global spread of the coronavirus. Mkhize says experts in designated areas are ready to respond if the coronavirus were to spread further across the world and classified as a pandemic.
South Africans have mixed reactions to the government’s preparedness in the event of it reaching the country’s shores. However, Mkhize has moved swiftly to allay these fears.
“Our government has done enough to make sure that we are safe from coronavirus, that is why we haven’t heard any reports of it in our country. 2. I feel like not much has been done, these people should go in schools to educate our children and even produce books,” says Mkhize.
Repatriation of SA citizens from China
South Africa’s inter-ministerial committee on the spread of the Covid-19 viral disease is set to brief the media at the OR Tambo International airport, on Sunday.
The briefing is to inform the public on the repatriation and quarantine of South African citizens from Wuhan in China.
President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday ordered the repatriation of nearly 200 South Africans from the central Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak.
At least 132 South Africans, who are currently in China, will be repatriated back home. Upon arrival, they will be held in quarantine to ensure that they do not have COVID 19.
South Africans tested positive in Japan
The Department of Health says two South Africans working on Japanese Princess Diamond Cruise ship have tested positive for the coronavirus.
Japan’s health minister says 41 people on board the Diamond Princess had tested positive for coronavirus in addition to 20 previously identified cases, with those infected being moved to hospitals on land.
The Diamond Princess had been quarantined to ensure that the virus does not spread into mainland Japan.
Globally, more than 80 000 in nearly 50 countries – have been infected with the virus and close to 2 800 people have died the majority in China’s Hubei province.
There are rising fears that the COVID-19 virus could spread further.
The WHO has declared the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.
Below is a Live Tracking of the cases, death toll and other information: