Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize has assured South Africans that government is fully prepared should the coronavirus make its way into the country.

Mkhize was addressing the media in Sandringham, Johannesburg.

The virus was first detected in Wuhan, China, in December and since then it has claimed more than 130 lives.

More than 5 000 cases have been confirmed in China thus far.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

Minister Zweli Mkhize has assured the public that there’s no need to panic, as government is fully prepared to respond and contain the coronavirus, should it make its way to our shores.

He says precautionary measures have been put in place at all ports of entry to screen for the virus.

Due to the risk of the virus making its way to South Africa the Minister says that Port Health authorities have also enhanced surveillance of all travelers from Asia, especially China.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases has also developed and distributed clinical guidelines and case definitions for doctors and nurses in both the public and the private sectors to better detect, identify and respond to a possible case.

Watch full briefing below