SA confirms first COVID-19 case
Harare, (New Ziana) – South Africa on Thursday confirmed its first case of COVID-19 after a 38 year old man tested positive for the deadly virus.
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said the patient had recently returned from Italy, one of the European countries hardest affected by the virus.
“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,” he said in a statement.
“The patient consulted a private general practitioner on March 3 with symptoms of fever, headache, malaise, a sore throat and a cough.”
Mkhize said after test samples were confirmed positive, the patient went into self-isolation since March 3.
A tracer team has since been deployed to KwaZulu-Natal Province comprising of epidemiologists and clinicians, he said.
“The couple also has two children. The emergency operating centre has identified the contacts by interviewing the patient and doctor,” he said.
“The doctor has been self isolated as well.”
It has taken more than two months for the virus to reach southern Africa, having originated in China late last year.
Globally the number of confirmed cases has reached 96 000 while more than 3 300 people have succumbed to the virus.
Other African countries with confirmed cases include Nigeria, Senegal, Egypt and Algeria.
In readiness to fight the virus in case it spreads to Zimbabwe, the government has put in place tight COVID-19 monitoring systems and state of the art testing, quarantine and treatment facilities.
So far, only two suspected cases have been quarantined but their test results have returned negative.
As additional safety measures, the government has now made it a requirement for travellers coming from affected countries to produce health certificates certifying that they are free of the virus before being granted entry into Zimbabwe.
Also, the government has barred all civil servants from travelling outside Africa, where Covid-19 is more prevalent, and urged citizens to desist from unnecessary travel.