In response to news that the province now has its first patient with the coronavirus, the Western Cape has activated its outbreak response team in association with the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD).
The case was confirmed on Wednesday by the national health department who announced six new cases in the country, thus bringing the overall total of confirmed infected people to 13.
“The patient is a 36-year-old male in the City of Cape Town. He presented himself to a private healthcare facility with flu-like symptoms and a recent travel history to Europe,” read part of a statement issued by the department.
According to the Western Cape government, the outbreak response team is set to trace the travel history, movements and contacts of the person to ensure containment.
“Contacts, including those on the flight, will be followed up and monitored for the next two weeks, as per the World Health Organisation guidelines. The travel history and movements of the person will be traced in order to ensure containment,” said Western Cape Premier Alan Winde.
As per set procedures, the patient was kept in isolation over the last 48 hours until the release of the results of the laboratory-confirmed tests.
“Earlier this week, I activated the Joint Operations Centre (JOC) to ensure our preparedness to respond to the coronavirus and five work-streams have been established to ensure a coordinated response. I have convened a special cabinet on Friday where we will receive a report back on their work,” said Winde.
The premier urged Western Cape residents to play their part in limiting the spread of the virus in the following ways:
- Residents were asked to stay calm and follow the direction of the NICD, regarding testing and, if necessary, isolation
- Call the dedicated coronavirus hotline, operated by the NICD, on 0800 029 999 if you have flu-like symptoms and have travelled internationally or have been in contact with someone who has travelled internationally
- Practising good hygiene, such as washing your hands regularly and thoroughly, as well as coughing or sneezing into a tissue or the corner of your arm
- Avoid spreading fake news
He stressed the last point, adding that spreading panic will only make responding more difficult.
“It is important to highlight that in the majority cases the virus presents mildly and there is a significantly high recovery rate,” he added.
For more information on basic good hygiene practises, residents can visit the provincial government’s dedicated webpage: www.westerncape.gov.za/coronavirus.
Additionally, the following official channels contain important information and can be contacted:
- Provincial Facebook page: facebook.com/WCGHealth
- The provincial landing page for coronavirus information: https://westerncape.gov.za/coronavirus
- Public Hotline: 0800 029 999
- WHO contact page: https://www.who.int/
(Compiled by Kaunda Selisho)