Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has retracted one of the reported cases of coronavirus in South Africa, saying that a lab error had occurred, and one of the patients had actually tested negative for the virus. The case in question was a 32 year old male from the Free State that was said to be the first case of local transmission, after he came into contact with a Chinese businessman.
With the new information, South Africa’s confirmed cases are now 16, with no local transmission cases yet recorded.
Four more people have tested positive for the Covid-19 coronavirus in South Africa, taking the country’s total confirmed cases to 17.
The cases were confirmed by health minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize, identified in KwaZulu Natal, Gauteng, Mpumalanga and the Free State.
- A 38 year old male from Durban who lives in Turkey and was visiting his family in South Africa.
- A 27 year old female from Mpumalanga who had travelled to the United States.
- A 43 year old male from Johannesburg who had travelled to New York via Dubai.
- A 32 year old male from the Free State who came into contact with a Chinese businessman.
The case in the Free State is the first case of local transmission, as all others have been by patients who had travelled abroad.
“At this stage, all patients are in self quarantine and have mild to moderate symptoms. They are also on symptomatic treatment,” Mkhize said.
“Our tracing teams are now making a list and have started contacting individuals that have been identified as these patients contacts.”
Contact tracing and quarantine
The health department announced earlier this week that 105 people who came into contact with the initial group of seven 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.