While noting the spread of the coronavirus in Africa, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) confirmed on Tuesday that South Africa has not recorded a confirmed COVID-19 case to date.
On Monday, AFP reported that Senegal confirmed its first case of the novel coronavirus. This is the second confirmed case in sub-Saharan Africa after Nigeria, where an Italian national reportedly returned with the virus.
“We have noted the increase of COVID-19 cases in the African region and the route of transmissions. An additional country – Senegal – has confirmed its first case from a French national in the past 24 hours,” NICD spokesperson Sinenhlanhla Jimoh said in a statement.
“Working with the African Union and Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, South Africa has participated in workshops with fellow member states to expand planning and preparation for COVID-19 within the African region.
“This will strengthen surveillance and integrate the sharing of information regarding COVID-19 in Africa.”
The NICD added that as of Tuesday, 164 tests have been conducted for SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19), of which 118 have met the case definition for persons under investigation and all tests have come back negative.
“The NICD confirms that South Africa has not had a confirmed COVID-19 case to date,” Jimoh said.
He added the NICD would continue to intensify monitoring, engagement and training of healthcare professionals across South Africa to increase the response and detection of the coronavirus.
“We have developed additional resources and tools for those who are indirectly linked to COVID-19 response but also play a vital role in the dissemination of information and knowledge of COVID-19.”
On Monday, News24 reported the Western Cape had 32 suspected cases of the coronavirus, all of which have tested negative, the provincial health department said.
On Sunday, an Inter-Ministerial Committee was assigned with the repatriation and quarantine of South Africans in Wuhan, China, where the coronavirus originated.
Of the 201 South Africans living in Wuhan, 16 have elected not to return home, while 151 indicated they want to be repatriated.
It was revealed the repatriation process was expected to take between seven and 10 days to complete and will be based on the guidelines of the World Health Organisation.
The process will be implemented in three phases – evacuation, quarantine and reunification.
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