Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has confirmed a third case of coronavirus in South Africa on Sunday.
He said in a statement: “This morning we have received results of the direct contact of the first patient, his wife. She had also travelled with him to Italy as part of the group of ten. I now wish to advise the public that she has tested positive for COVID-19 and is therefore the third confirmed case in South Africa.”
Mkhize said of the 10 people that recently travelled to Italy, nine returned to the country.
“We expect the results of the other 6 group members who had travelled to Italy within the next 48 hours. It is important to advise the public that the couple’s children were tested and their results have come out negative. However, as part of taking extra precautions, these children will remain in self quarantine until their parents have tested negative. At that point, they will also be tested to ensure that they remain negative. Until then they will be regarded as potentially infected. This means they will continue not attend school. This is in an effort to curb the risk of spread to other children and teachers.”
Mkhize confirmed the second case of coronavirus on Saturday.
The 39-year-old woman from Gauteng was a direct contact to the first case from KwaZulu-Natal and was part of the group of 10 people that had travelled to Italy.
He said in a statement: “The public must be notified that we have information and know the whereabouts of all the other 10 people who were part of the group that had travelled to Italy. All those who came back to South Africa, are currently being tested. We are now awaiting their test results to come out. Since being traced, they have remained in isolation to avoid any further contact with third parties.
“The second patient who has now tested positive for COV-19 will now be immediately admitted to a public health facility in Gauteng that government has identified as one of the hospitals that are ready to receive COVID-19 positive patients.”
The first coronavirus case in the country was confirmed on Thursday.
Mkhize said the patient was 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 the country on Sunday.
“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 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.”
The minister said the first confirmed patient was “upbeat” and “jovial” this morning.
“I also spoke to the doctor who is treating him. She confirmed that this patient is responding well and is now asymptomatic.”
(Compiled by Vhahangwele Nemakonde)