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Additional coronavirus cases were expected, says Mkhize

The minister held a briefing in Tshwane on Monday to give an update on his department's response to COVID-19 cases in South Africa.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize speaks at an inter-ministerial briefing in Pretoria on the coronavirus situation in South Africa on 9 March 2020. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has urged South Africans not to be alarmed by the additional four people who had tested positive for the coronavirus, saying that this was expected.

The minister held a briefing in Tshwane on Monday to give an update surrounding his department's response to the COVID-19 cases.

He announced four more positive cases, bringing the total number to seven on home soil.

An infographic showing the number of confirmed coronavirus infections in South Africa on 9 March 2020. Picture: EWN

Mkhize said government was not surprised by the new confirmed cases as the patients were part of the group of 10 who had travelled to Italy.

He said the seven were all part of a group who travelled to Italy and then returned to South Africa.

The minister said the new infections were expected: “We are not surprised with these particular results. We think that the kind of exposure these members had was enough to create an infection of a person."

WATCH: Four more South Africans test positive for COVID-19

He said they would treat each infection as a new case: “If anyone is suspected, we then test them and note who the contacts are. Once the person becomes positive, we then test the contacts and then if the contacts are positive, we then treat the contacts as at the centre of the circle.”

Mkhize said medical personnel were now trying to trace anyone else who had come into contact with the seven people who were confirmed to have contracted the coronavirus.