NICD: All 180 people tested for coronavirus in SA so far are negative

The NICD’s Cheryl Cohen stressed that rumours circulating on social media about cases in South Africa were false.

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

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

The NICD’s Cheryl Cohen stressed that rumours circulating on social media about cases in South Africa were false.

“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 nearly 95,000 cases globally.

The World Health Organisation's Maria Van Kerkhove said scientific experiments were under way to find a vaccine for the virus.

“I’d like to remind you all that we’re eight weeks into this and we have serological assays. This is unprecedented to have a virus identified and to have a serological assays in use, eight weeks into an outbreak. We await with bated breath, as you are, for these serological studies to be done.”