The National Institute of Communicable Diseases has confirmed that the first case of the novel coronavirus Covid-19 has been detected in South Africa.
“We confirm that a suspected case of COVID-19 has tested positive,” the group said.
“This is not as a failure but as a success of our health systems to be able to detect and rapidly identify cases. The case has been self-isolated at home since the onset of symptoms and is receiving treatment.”
According to the department of health, the patient is a 38-year-old male who travelled to Italy with his wife.
They were part of a group of 10 people and they arrived back in South Africa on March 1, 2020. The patient consulted a private general practitioner on March 3, with symptoms of fever, headache, malaise, a sore throat and a cough.
The practice nurse took swabs and delivered it to the lab. The patient has been self-isolating since March 3, the department said.
Globally, more than 95,000 people have been diagnosed with the virus, the vast majority of them in China where the virus originated late last year. Over 3,000 people have died.