The number of South Africans who have tested positive for the coronavirus in South Africa has now increased to seven with four additional cases confirmed.
More than 3 800 people have died globally since the outbreak was first reported in China in December. There have been more than 110 thousand infections worldwide.
Speaking at a media briefing in Pretoria, on Monday, Mkhize says the new four cases were among the group of people who were travelling from Italy.
“They have been put on quarantine; they had not been admitted to the hospital at the point when we received the results. The lady had had symptoms when she arrived but the gentleman did not have symptoms but the test had come out positive. So we are going to have our team to round up all the contacts and also follow-up to see who else needs to be approached. They were all travelling together. Another person is a 45-year-old man again in the area of Pietermaritzburg, among those contacts we took the tests at that time and after the tests came out positive, that one had symptoms and was quarantined. The next one is another male in the area of Pietermaritzburg, a 38-year-old who has also been found to be positive.”
Mkhize says there was also a concerning case in Vryburg, North West, however, the person later tested negative.
“Initially she was admitted with symptoms, in the context when the first test was done, it created an impression that it was a very unclear weak positive, but in fact, we have now gotten confirmation that this was is negative. It was a weak positive and I don’t want to get into that, but sometimes week positive could mean that there could have been a cross-reaction with some other virus.”
In the video below Minister Zweli Mkhize addressed the media in Pretoria:
Impact of coronavirus on education
Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga, says schools have been advised to provide learners with information on protecting themselves against the coronavirus.
The Grayston Preparatory School, north of Johannesburg, was closed for the day following reports that one of the educators had been in contact with a person who has tested positive for the virus.
“We had to reflect on the coronavirus because we have been receiving many inquiries on our plans to deal with it in schools. We have advised our schools to ensure the children wash their hands, cover their mouths when they cough, they avoid contact with sick people or a friend who is coughing, avoid touching their eyes and ears. It is basically guidelines that health has circulated that we are working on.”
In the video below, SABC News’ Chriselda Lewis reporting outside the school…
Meanwhile, the University of Pretoria (UP) says it will continue to look at more precautionary measures to minimise the possible spread of the COVID-19 virus at the institution.
The University has temporarily disabled the biometric access system at all seven campuses and 29 residences. UP staff and students will now use cards to scan in and out at all entrance.
“We are also now looking at other measures that we can take. You can for example in buildings or spaces where people enter – for example, lifts. We’ll have to find a solution for that. So we are looking into the most effective, the most scientific that which experts say will actually work because there’s lot of advice floating around there, use an alcohol-based solution, it has to be a particular kind of percentage I’m being told, and varsity experts to come with real information and not fake news,” Vice-Chancellor Tawana Kupe.
South Africans in Wuhan waiting in anticipation
South Africans working in the Chinese city of Wuhan say they are waiting in anticipation for communication from the government – on details of when and how they will be evacuated from the region.
The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has been tasked with repatriating 184 South Africans from Wuhan – the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak.
The number of infections worldwide has increased to more than 107 000 with about 3 600 deaths. The majority of cases and deaths have been in China, but cases are continuing to emerge across the globe.
A South African working in Wuhan, Sizwe Sibiya, says they are expecting to be notified soon on the evacuation process.
“We were told initially that it would take about 10 days for the whole process to be finalised and then we will be taken back home. We are hoping that in the next 12-24 hours – if they stick to the timeline that they gave us – we are looking at the next 12-24 hours. The suspense is killing us, we can’t wait. The past three weeks have been a total lockdown. You can’t get out of your immediate community, you have to rely on deliveries and we have to rely on people bringing food for us. “ The map below tracks coronavirus cases across the world: