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Mkhize confirms first positive coronavirus case in SA

In a statement, the minister said that the patient was a 38-year-old male who travelled to Italy with his wife. Mkhize said that the patient had been in self-isolation since March 3.

FILE: Health Minister Zweli Mkhize. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Health Minister Zweli has confirmed the first positive case of the coronavirus in South Africa.

In a statement, he said that the patient was a 38-year-old male from KwaZulu-Natal who travelled to Italy with his wife. The couple were part of a group of 10 people and they arrived back in South Africa on 1 March.

The patient went to a doctor on 3 March with symptoms of fever, headaches, malaise, a sore throat and a cough.

Mkhize said that the patient had been in self-isolation since then.

The Health Minister said that the Emergency operating Centre had identified the people that the patient had made contact with and a trace team had been deployed to KZN. The doctor has self-isolated as well.

Earlier on Thursday, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) said more than 180 people had been tested for the coronavirus in the country and that all tests had came back negative.

“All of the tests processed have come back negative and the NICD confirms that South Africa hasn’t had a confirmed case of coronavirus.”

The novel coronavirus has killed more than 3,200 people, the vast majority in Mainland China, and there are now more than 95,700 cases globally.

Africa has a relatively low incidence of cases and zero deaths to date. As at 12pm on Thursday, 12 cases had been reported in Algeria, 4 in Senegal, 2 in Egypt, 1 in Nigeria, 1 in Morocco and 1 in Tunisia.

To track global cases and deaths click here.