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Mkhize: We're tracing everyone who had direct contact with infected citizens

The third and latest COVID-19 patient in South Africa was confirmed on Sunday.

FILE: Health Minister Zweli Mkhize. Picture: @DrZweliMkhize/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize on Sunday said they were trying to trace all those who made direct contact with the three people who had tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) in South Africa.

The third and latest COVID-19 patient was confirmed earlier on Sunday. The third patient is the wife of the KwaZulu-Natal man who was the first patient to test positive on Thursday.

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Mkhize said the three cases of COVID-19 in the country were directly linked to a group of 10 people who travelled to Italy recently. Nine members of the group returned to South Africa at the beginning of this month as Mkhize explained.

“She has been seen by a doctor at Grey's Hospital. The risk is much lower of the infection getting out of control and we can trace everyone that came into contact with the people, and therefore we will be able to test them all,” he said.

The minister said the children of the couple had tested negative for the disease, but they would remain in self-isolation until their parents were cleared.

“At that point, they will also be tested to ensure that they remain negative. Until then they will be regarded as potentially infected. This means they will continue not to attend school. This is in an effort to curb the risk of spread to other children and teachers,” the minister said in a statement.

Mkhize said he spoke to the father who is upbeat and his doctor confirmed that he was responding well to treatment.

“This morning, I had an opportunity to speak to the first confirmed patient. He was upbeat and jovial. I also spoke to the doctor who is treating him. She confirmed that this patient is responding well and is now asymptomatic. At the right time, as determined by the treating doctors, the patient will be retested to check his recovery progress,” Mkhize said.

Meanwhile, the results of the other six group members were expected within 48 hours. More details about clinical observation would be made public soon.

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