Gauteng’s first confirmed coronavirus patient recovering well: Masuku

The department confirmed she had tested positive after she had direct contact with the first patient from KwaZulu-Natal.

FILE: Former Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku. Picture: @BandileMasuku/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku on Tuesday said he was confident the second patient who tested positive for coronavirus would be discharged from hospital by the end of the week.

Giving an update on the health departments plans to implement proposals announced by Premier David Makhura during his State of the Province address, Masuku said the 37-year-old woman who had recently returned to the country from Italy was showing signs of improvement.

The department confirmed she had tested positive after she had direct contact with the first patient from KwaZulu-Natal.

Masuku painted a positive outlook on the provinces capacity and readiness to deal with its first COVID-19 case.

Masuku said the patient, who had been part of a group of 10 who returned to the country from Italy, did not exhibit any severe symptoms of the virus.

“But it needs a lot of ICU and high care at some point because it affects, mostly the lung.”

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

Masuku has reiterated that the health department will continue to train staff and improve health facilities designated for treating patients.

The MEC also announced that the department would enhance its Mpilo App, which will allow the public to screen themselves and report possible cases of COVID-19.

With authorities worldwide on high alert, the South African government said there was no need, for now, to impose travel bans to help stem the spread of the coronavirus.

Seven South Africans have contracted the virus after recently returning from Italy, the country hardest hit by the outbreak in Europe.

Mkhize said talks of a travel ban were ongoing between the president and the Cabinet.

“The ministers will be consulting with the president and the Cabinet and thereafter, any messages can be made on what is being done on what basis. The fact that we have had the discussions does not conclude the issues, there has to be consultation with the president.”

Mkhize has reiterated that movements at ports of entry have not been restricted.

President Cyril Ramaphosa last week said it was premature for South Africa to implement travel bans following the announcement of the initial cases.

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

NEHAWU CALLS FOR HEALTH WORKERS’ PROTECTIONThe National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) has called on government to provide health workers with adequate gear to protect them while they work on patients infected with COVID-19.

Nehawu said health workers were committed to helping patients in quarantine areas.

Spokesperson Khaya Xaba said: “We are committing ourselves that we will treat patients, but we are saying that they must be protected to ensure that they don’t get the virus and it doesn’t spread to other people in the country. So, we have to work together, collectively.”