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Mkhize on coronavirus: It’s not practical to seal provincial borders

The Health Minister said they were following all the protocols already announced to the public in dealing with the coronavirus.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize (L) at a press briefing on 7 March 2020 on the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in South Africa. Picture: @DrZweliMkhize/Twitter.

JOHANNESBURG - Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said it would not be practical to seal provincial borders to avoid the possible spread of the COVID-19 virus in South Africa.

There have been two confirmed cases of the virus in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

On Thursday it was announced that a KZN man who had been travelling from Italy was the first confirmed case.

The second patient - a 39-year-old woman from Gauteng - was in direct contact with the KZN man.

It’s believed that they were a part of a group of ten that had travelled to Italy.

The 39-year-old woman has now been admitted to the Charlotte Maxeke hospital in Johannesburg.

Mkhize said the number of infected patients in the country was not high enough to close the borders.

“It is not practical to seal the borders. It is also not recommended to do so when you have just two patients. I think there was a unique situation in Wuhan in China, which is the epicentre of the outbreak and where there were thousands and thousands of people who were affected, and it was a worthwhile step to be taken there.”

* Coronavirus: What symptoms should I look out for?

Mkhize said they were following all the protocols already announced to the public in dealing with the coronavirus.

He also cautioned against the spreading of fake news.

He said that people who suspected that they had symptoms of the virus should self-isolate and seek medical attention.

“There are certain basic health precautions that have to be taken. Our team is going out to talk to the individuals and we will put a restriction on their movements and rest of their family if anybody has tested positive.”

The minister said they were still awaiting the results of the remainder of the ten individuals who were part of the Italy trip.

* Here’s the list of hospitals designated to treat coronavirus patients in SA

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