Thursday, 5 March 2020

PATIENT, DOC QUARANTINED AS FIRST CORONAVIRUS CONFIRMED IN SA


A Hilton man, believed to be the country's first confirmed coronavirus case, is being quarantined at his home outside Pietermaritzburg.

National health minister Zweli Mkhize confirmed on Thursday that the 38-year father of two was among a group of 10 people, including his wife, who had travelled to Italy. The group returned to SA on Sunday March 1 via OR Tambo International Airport and later travelled to Durban.

The man visited his GP after complaining of fever, a headache, sore throat and a cough. A swab taken tested positive for the virus. Mkhize said the man had been “self-isolating” since then.

“The couple also has two children. The Emergency Operating Centre (EOC) has identified the contacts by interviewing the patient and doctor.

“The tracer team has been deployed to KwaZulu-Natal with epidemiologists and clinicians from NICD. The doctor has been self-isolated as well,” he said.

It is understood that the mother informed parents, whose schoolchildren are in the same class as her children, that her husband had tested positive and that they were quarantined in their house. In the message, she shared that neither she nor the children displayed any symptoms and that they would be tested.

She said that her husband was in constant contact with health experts from the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) which is managing the virus.

The doctor, who runs a private practice in Hilton, has also been quarantined. Meanwhile an upmarket residential estate issued a statement on Thursday notifying residents that one of their residents had “come into contact with the person who had tested positive for the coronavirus”.

Mount Edgecombe Country Club Estate residents were told that the resident was in contact with the NICD. They said once tested and the results were known, they would report back.

Meanwhile, a private school which is in close proximity to both the school attended by the children of the patient who tested positive, has suspended outings to public areas, until further notice.

The school, which is known to TimesLIVE, said they took the decision after it had  confirmed that the first positive case of the virus was in their vicinity.

“[The school] will take all necessary precautions including no further outings to public/crowded places, the use of alcohol-based hand sanitiser, and the nursing sisters are up to date with all the signs and symptoms and will respond appropriately,” the school said in a statement.

The school said that while it remained open until further notice, it had also cancelled external sporting fixtures. Times

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