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No confirmed case of coronavirus in SA - NICD

Scores of people have been tested in South Africa since the outbreak in China but all cases have come back negative.

This photo taken on 4 February 2020 shows a medical staff member (R) taking samples from a person to be tested for the new coronavirus at a quarantine zone in Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, in China's central Hubei province. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) has assured South Africans it was on high alert to deal with any case of the coronavirus.

Scores of people have been tested in South Africa since the outbreak in China but all cases have come back negative.

How to track the coronavirus outbreak

Over 1,000 people have died in China, with tens of thousands more affected globally.

The World Health Organisation said that the first vaccine for the coronavirus could be available in 18 months.

The institute's Cheryl Cohen said that in the meantime, their detection measures were sufficient.

"We can confirm that as of 11 February 2020, 61 individuals have been tested for the virus and all tests have come back negative. Therefore there is no confirmed case of the 2019 novel coronavirus in South Africa."

WATCH: SA Chinese community faces racial stereotypes amid coronavirus outbreak

INFORMATION STILL EMERGING

The NICD has cautioned against making alarmist statements about the coronavirus as the world tries to contain its spread.

The World Health Organisation is warning people not to underestimate the impact a virus can have on all spheres of life.

Urging the world to "wake up" and be as aggressive as possible in tackling the outbreak, the UN health agency has given a new name to the disease that has infected more than 44,600 people.

The virus has now been named Covid-19 in an attempt to avoid stigma.

The NICD's Cheryl Cohen said that experts were still learning more about the virus every day.

"The information about this outbreak is still emerging. Right now the World Health Organisation's approach to the outbreak is that they're still working to contain it, which means that they're trying to stop the spread of the virus."

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