The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), together with the Department of Health, has developed and distributed clinical guidelines for doctors and nurses in the private and public health sector to detect and respond to the deadly coronavirus should it spread to South Africa.
No cases have yet been reported so far in South Africa and the rest of Africa, but at least 56 people have died from the virus in China and more than 1000 have been infected globally since cases were first reported in the city of Wuhan in Cina’s Hubei province last month.
The institute says the guidance includes what samples to collect to confirm the diagnosis as well as how to best manage the case clinically and to prevent it spreading to others while the diagnosis is being made.
Several additional resources are also on standby to enhance optimal response, the NICD said. These include placing the Emergency Operations Centre in alert mode, which could be activated should the need arise.
Fever screenings are being done at ports of entry and guidance documents to identify suspected cases have been distributed to staff at the ports.