Like swine flu, the situation will soon stabilise: Dr Robyn Ann Reed

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The Pietermaritzburg doctor, who referred South Africa’s first case of coronavirus for testing, says she is optimistic that the situation will soon stabilise.

The 38-year-old man consulted Dr Robyn Ann Reed on Tuesday with flu-like symptoms after returning from Italy over the weekend.

The diagnosis was confirmed on Thursday and the patient is in quarantine in Grey’s Hospital in Pietermaritzburg.

Dr Reed, who is in self-isolation after her contact with the patient, says like swine flu, the situation will soon stabilise.

“I understand the people are fearful of the new virus we don’t really know how to behave but if you think historically all of the bad viruses that have come along, the last one was Swine Flu in 2009 where all thought it was going to be a terrible epidemic. Very sadly and tragically, one of two people in our area but it didn’t strike down thousands and thousands of people. And hopefully, this is going to be the same. If I look at the statistics for how many people with this virus have died so far, it is a very very small percentage. So hopefully, we can say most people are going to survive this thing and it’s just gonna be like any bad flu.”

Prof Nelesh Govender from the National Institute for Communicable Diseases shares more on the first case of coronavirus in SA   

Patient admitted to Grey’s Hospital

On Friday, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize confirmed that the patient has been admitted to Grey’s Hospital in Pietermaritzburg. The hospital is one of four earmarked for the isolation and treatment of coronavirus cases in the province.

Dr Mkhize says the man has been responding well to treatment. “We have agreed that the patient had to be admitted ready to follow the protocols. But he is actually much improved and I think what is important for us is that he must stay in treatment and once he had been treated. We will test him once his symptoms disappear and then when he is found to be negative of COVID-19, we will allow him to go home – that means it can be anytime. There’s no specific time specified for how long a person can stay in the hospital. It really depends on the condition, the severity of the infection and the existence of other concomitant diseases and what other supportive treatment the Patient needs.

Dr Mkhize says the patient is responding well to treatment, warns against fake news… 


Meanwhile, a man, who has been in contact with the 38-year-old Hilton man diagnosed with coronavirus, has self-quarantined himself in his home on a private estate.

The man from Mount Edgecombe, north of Durban, has not been diagnosed and is still awaiting testing by the Department of Health and National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NCID).

CEO of the estate, Desiree Stone, says precautionary measures have been implemented to protect residents until the proper testing is conducted.

“At this stage, we haven’t had an update as yet as to what is going on from the National Institute of Communicable Diseases. The resident is on the estate and at this stage has not been tested as yet. So we just waiting to hear from them what measures we need to put in place. What we have currently done is we’ve stopped all biometric access and residents need to use access cards.”

Precautionary measures

South Africans have been encouraged to take precautionary measures and one of those is washing your hands properly.

Experts say that washing your hands is a key part of preventing the spread of viruses such as the coronavirus. We are advised to wash your hands frequently.

Dr. Kgosi Letlape is an ophthalmologist and health care leader who also serves as a member of The Global Hygiene Council.

Meanwhile Western Cape Premier, Alan Winde, has urged the public to remain calm following the confirmation of the coronavirus case in KwaZulu-Natal.

“My message is there is no need to panic. We need to follow proper protocols around hygiene, wash your hands properly. Don’t shake hands with anybody and everybody. I also want to appeal to the public don’t send out untested unverified social media messages. This does not help anybody.”

Coronavirus do’s and don’ts

Latest on the spread of coronavirus around the world

The coronavirus that emerged in China late last year has reached over 80 nations, with the outbreak now spreading rapidly in other parts of Asia, Europe and the United States.

* Globally, there have been over 100 300 cases and more than 3 400 deaths, according to a Reuters tally.

* Mainland China, where the outbreak began, has seen more than 3 000 deaths, but the epidemic is now spreading faster elsewhere. The death toll in Italy, which has suffered Europe’s worst outbreak, was at least 148.


* China’s central province of Hubei, excluding the provincial capital Wuhan, reported zero new cases over 24 hours for the first time during the outbreak.

* China’s financial centre of Shanghai reported three new infections on Friday, in Chinese nationals who caught the virus abroad.

* South Korea reported 505 new cases on Friday, down from 760 a day before, taking its total to 6 593. U.S. military confirmed its seventh case among those stationed there.

* Singapore, praised by the World Health Organisation for its efforts to prevent the virus from spreading, warned on Friday that deaths would become “inevitable” as a global pandemic emerges. More than two months since its first case, Singapore has kept infections to just over 100 people with no deaths.

* Confirmed infections in Japan rose to 1 057 on Friday morning.

* Japan’s prime minister on Thursday ordered a two-week quarantine for all visitors from China and South Korea, and his government signalled the Olympics would go ahead as planned.

* South Korea said on Friday it would suspend visas for Japan in response to Tokyo’s own travel restrictions.


* Spain confirmed its fifth death, with 365 confirmed cases.

* On the Spanish island of Tenerife, busloads of guests left a hotel where they had been locked down since Feb. 25. Local authorities said 443 people had departed since the lockdown was declared, leaving around 400 guests still inside.

* The Vatican confirmed its first case on Friday. The death toll stood at 148 on Thursday.

* Slovakia and Serbia confirmed their first cases on Friday and the Netherlands reported its first death.

* More than 60 staff at an Irish hospital were asked to self-isolate on Friday after the country’s first community transmission was found there.

* Polish police limited drink-driving tests fearing this could speed transmission.

* EU officials failed on Friday to persuade France, Germany and other countries to lift controls on exporting protective gear, which officials said could hurt the bloc’s effort to fight the coronavirus.


* The death toll in the United States rose to 14 on Friday after the outbreak surfaced in at least four new states and San Francisco the day before.

* Brazil has confirmed eight cases of the new coronavirus as of Thursday, including the first instances of likely local transmission.


* Australia ordered its first school closure on Friday after a 16-year-old pupil tested positive, as the country’s prime minister warned the public bill for treating infected patients could top A$1 billion ($661 million).


* Cameroon and Togo confirmed their first cases of coronavirus on Friday, bringing the number of countries in sub-Saharan Africa hit by the epidemic to five.

* Iran’s death toll jumped on Friday to 124, as 17 died and more than 1,000 new cases were diagnosed over 24 hours, the health ministry said.

* Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared a 30-day state of emergency on Thursday and Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity was closed following the discovery of seven cases in the traditional birthplace of Jesus.


* More luxury brands have postponed fashion shows worldwide.

* Russia has cancelled its flagship annual St Petersburg International Economic Forum this year.

* Formula E postponed Rome’s ePrix race expected on April 4.


* The Asian Development Bank said the outbreak could slash global economic output by 0.1-0.4%, with financial losses forecast to reach between $77 billion and $347 billion.

* The outbreak likely halved China’s economic growth in the current quarter compared with the previous three months, a Reuters poll found.

* The cost of insuring exposure to sovereign as well as corporate debt rose almost across the board on Friday as the spread of coronavirus raised the prospect of debt distress and government bailouts.

* Global recession risks have risen due to coronavirus, credit rating agency Moody’s said on Friday. -Additional reporting by Reuters 

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