In light of the recent outbreak of the coronavirus, President Cyril Ramaphosa has restricted all travel to countries that have the most cases, including the EU, US, China, Iran, South Korea and other identified regions.
“We have cancelled visas to visitors from those countries. We have plans to strengthen screening and testing measures at international airports,” said Ramaphosa during his address on Sunday evening in Pretoria about Cabinet’s plans for the country in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The president said 35 ports of entry into and out of SA would be shut down out of 72. South African citizens returning from high-risk areas would need to self-quarantine. Those from medium-risk countries would be subjected to testing.
According to Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, early symptoms of Covid-19 are chills, body aches, sore throat, headache, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, runny nose, fever, coughing, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing.
He said during a meeting in KwaZulu-Natal last week: “It’s very simple: this virus spreads through what we call droplet infection. Droplet infection is this, while I’m busy talking to you I’m throwing out some droplets from the mouth. When I sneeze the same thing happens and when I cough too.
“If someone has tears, it can also come from the tears. So either someone will cough or sneeze next to you and then you can inhale the droplets and get the virus or it can be in your hands and you touch someone else and spread the virus. All you do is use a tissue to cover your mouth and nose when coughing/sneezing. If you don’t have one nearby, you cough onto your elbow or use a cloth/handkerchief.
“The other thing you need to understand: to get this infection you need to be in a really short distance of the infected person. If you are more than 1-1.5 metres my droplets won’t reach you. So if you see someone is coughing, you can just stand at a bit of a distance.”
Citizens have also been urged to wash their hands with soap and water after bathroom visits. The minister further urged people to steer clear of stigmatising people with coronavirus and to avoid stereotypes.
According to Lancet Laboratories, doctors and patients are urged to contact the NICD directly on their hotline if they want testing to be done at NICD 082 883 9920. If Doctors want their patient to be tested at Lancet Laboratories, and there is any uncertainty that the patient meets clinical and epidemiological criteria, the Lancet virologist on call on 0113580800 may be contacted.
Below is a list of all testing sites in the country: