News / South Africa

1 minute read
29 Jan 2020
12:30 pm

SA beefs up surveillance amid coronavirus outbreak


The department is aware of the cases that have emerged in countries outside of China and is closely tracking the movements of the virus.

People wear protective facemasks at the city's commuter train station in Bangkok on January 28, 2020. Thailand has detected 14 cases so far of the novel coronavirus, a virus similar to the SARS pathogen, an outbreak which began in the Chinese city of Wuhan. (Photo by Romeo GACAD / AFP)

The National department of health says while there is no cause for panic with the outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus in China, it has beefed up surveillance at the country’s ports of entry, Northglen News reports.

“South Africans are assured that measures are in place to detect, manage and contain any cases of Novel Coronavirus should it come to our shores. So far, there are no suspected cases reported.

“However, due to the current risk of importation of inadvertent cases of 2019-nCoV from Wuhan City – China, Port Health authorities have enhanced surveillance of all travellers from Asia, especially China,” said health spokesperson Popo Maja.

Fortunately, OR Tambo and Cape Town International Airports are the only ports of entry with direct flights from Asia.

On 31 December 2019, the World Health Organisation (WHO) China office reported a cluster of pneumonia cases in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China.

The cause was confirmed as a Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

Symptoms include fever and a cough with a few patients presenting with difficulty in breathing and bilateral infiltrates on chest X-rays.

More than 270 cases were confirmed, including at least four deaths in Wuhan City in China.

In a bid to keep the virus at bay, South Africa has developed and distributed clinical guidelines and case definitions to doctors and nurses in both the public and private sectors. These include information on how to diagnose and respond to a possible 2019-nCoV case.

“Provinces have activated outbreak response teams and are on high alert to detect and manage inadvertent cases that may arrive in the country,” said Maja.

For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.