The Minister of Health, Zweli Mkhize, has announced that the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in South Africa has increased by 23.
There are now 85 cases of the Coronavirus which has been declared a national disaster by President Cyril Ramaphosa. Globally, there are now 184,976 confirmed cases if COVID-19, and 7,529 deaths. The virus has spread to 159 countries/territories.
Among the new cases in the country is a 2-year-old boy from the Western Cape who has not travelled internationally. This is the youngest confirmed case.
“It is notable that there are eight cases of local transmission,” said the Minister in a statement.
There are 14 new cases in Gauteng:
- A 45-year-old male who had travelled to Belgium, UK, France and the US
- A 37-year-old male who had travelled to the UK
- A 54-year-old female who had travelled to the USA
- A 52-year-old male who had travelled to the UK
- A 25-year-old male who travelled to the UK
- A 52-year-old female who had travelled to Italy
- A 59-year-old male who travelled to the UK and Dubai
- A 57-year-old male who travelled to the USA
- A 60-year-old male who travelled to the USA
- A 37-year-old female who travelled to Italy and Dubai
- A 21-year-old female with no travel history
- A 34-year-old male with no international travel history
- A 26-year-old female with no international travel history
- A 32-year-old female with no international travel history
There are four new cases in KwaZulu-Natal:
- A 48-year-old male who travelled to Dubai
- A 59-year-old female with no international travel history
- A 5-year-old male with no international travel history
- A 3-year-old male with no international travel history
There are five new cases in the Western Cape:
- A 3-year-old male who travelled to the UK
- A 58-year-old male who travelled to the UK and Austria
- A 2-year-old male with no international travel
- A 62-year-old female who travelled to the UK and Ethiopia
- A 71-year-old female who travelled to the UK
The Minister said there was a debate with clinicians, epidemiologists, virologists on when government must release results to the public.
“These experts raised an issue of an ethical obligation to immediately alert patients as soon as the results become available.
“This therefore means that by the time a confirmation test is conducted in public laboratories, patients would have been notified of their initial results. This clarification is important because as government, we had announced to the public that all positive results will be verified through our public laboratories and the NICD,” explained the Minister.
He said in an effort to ensure transparency, government had decided to release results as they are submitted by both public and private labs.
“In instances where our confirmation tests give contrary results, we will inform the public, make reference to that specific result previously announced and give the outcome of the confirmation results.
“Whilst we respect that private laboratories have the capacity to test and on their own issue results, our intention and approach is to ensure that there is credibility in the information and results given to the public.
“Whilst we appreciate the importance of being transparent with South Africans, we will not do so irresponsibly and not take into account all clinical and any other broader implications of the information we give to you,” he said.
Repatriated South Africans
Mkhize further announced that the South Africans who were repatriated from Wuhan City, in China have tested negative for COVID-19. The group arrived in South Africa on Saturday and are in quarantine at The Ranch Hotel in Limpopo.
“It gives us great pleasure to also announce to South Africans that all the citizens from Wuhan were tested and their results came back negative for COVID-19. We continue to keep them in quarantine for the prescribed period and will thereafter initiate the process of reunifying them with the community,” said the Minister.