Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize has confirmed that six more cases of coronavirus have been found in South Africa, taking the total number of infected up to 13.
The patients are from Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape, where they travelled from Europe. They include:
- A 33 year old female in Gauteng who had travelled to Italy;
- A 34-year old male in Gauteng who had travelled to Germany;
- A 33 year old female in Gauteng who had travelled to Germany;
- A 57 year old male in Gauteng who had travelled to Austria and Italy;
- A 40 year old male from KZN who had travelled to Portugal;
- A 36 year old male from the Western Cape who had travelled to multiple countries including Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Turkey.
“All the patients have now been advised. Those who are symptomatic have started receiving treatment. Some of these patients are already in hospital while some, specifically those who are asymptomatic are in self quarantine.
“Contact tracing has also started for all these cases,” the department said in a statement.
Contact tracing and quarantine
The health department announced on Tuesday that 105 people who came into contact with the initial group of Covid-19 patients have been put under quarantine.
With the new cases, the number of South Africans who will be quarantined is expected to increase dramatically, as each recorded case so far had been into contact with around 15 people.
Other precautions have been taken, with some schools closing down for a day to deep clean after it emerged that a staff member came into contact with one of the people who tested positive for for the virus.
Contacts are put into quarantine, while those who test positive are put into isolation.
Isolation refers to the isolation and confinement of Covid-19 positive individuals and this happens at one of the designated isolation facilities in South Africa.
Quarantine implies the use or creation of appropriate facilities in which persons are separated from the community while being attended to. According to the World Health Organisation, possible settings include “holiday facilities, dormitory or military facilities, amongst others, while home based quarantine may be the only feasible option.”
“In the setting of quarantine, the people being attended to are well but have had exposure to Covid-19. They are therefore quarantined to allow the incubation period to pass and wait for the test results when they are conducted,” the health department said.