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No need to panic, there are guidelines on coronavirus– Health Dept

Twenty-six people have died in China, with more than 830 cases confirmed across the globe.

Commuters wearing face masks as a precautionary measure to protect against the possible spread of a SARS-like virus outbreak ride an escalator at an MTR subway station ahead of the Chinese New Year in Hong Kong on 23 January 2020. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG – The Health Department said that there were clinical guidelines outlining how any outbreak of the coronavirus in South Africa should be handled.

The World Health Organisation has stopped short of declaring an outbreak of the disease a global public health emergency.

Twenty-six people have died in China, with more than 830 cases confirmed across the globe.

The rapidly expanding outbreak has overwhelmed officials, fuelling fears of a global pandemic.

But the department's Popo Maja said that South Africans should remain calm.

“We have put in place a clinic guideline to guide clinicians – that is doctors and nurses – if they come across a suspicious case what they must look for, what are the symptoms and what should be the possible treatment.”

Factfile on the coronavirus family, which circulate in animals and can be transmitted to humans. A new strain of this virus has been identified in Wuhan, China. Picture: AFP

CORONAVIRUS: NCID WORKING WITH HEALTH DEPARTMENT

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NCID) has put measures in place to identify and detect the coronavirus in South Africa.

NICD scientists said that there’d been no cases of the virus reported on the African continent.

The institute, in collaboration with the Department of Health, has developed clinical guidelines on the coronavirus for medical practitioners.

The institute’s Professor Cheryl Cohen said that it appeared the virus was not very good at spreading between people.

"Up until now, in fact, in all of the cases that have been identified globally do have a direct link to Wuhan or those cases have been in close contact with a confirmed case. In fact, the risk is mostly from people travelling from Wuhan in China."

More than six hundred cases have been confirmed in China.

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