NICD constantly updating testing criteria for COVID-19

The institute said that only people with symptoms and who had traveled to coronavirus stricken areas would be tested along with those who had been in contact with people who had travelled abroad.

South Korean soldiers wearing protective gear spray disinfectant as part of preventive measures against the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, at a market in Daegu on 2 March 2020. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) said that it was constantly updating the testing requirements for COVID-19.

The institute said that only people with symptoms and who had traveled to coronavirus stricken areas would be tested along with those who had been in contact with people who had travelled abroad.

Some companies were asking employees to provide a doctor's clearance certificate if they had taken sick leave.

But the institute's Professor Cheryl Cohen said that there were not enough resources to test everyone.

"We are constantly updating the definitions for testing according to the situation, both the international situation in terms of countries which pose a risk and also the local situation, so as the situation changes, we change our criteria and it can change as often as every few days. We want to open the net wider so that we don't miss a case."

WATCH: Confused about coronavirus? NICD answers key questions

Meanwhile, labour law expert Tony Healy said that employers could not by law force workers to get tested.

"Employers are not able to oblige employees to present medical certificates regarding them, for example, having a coronavirus negative result because there is a doctor-patient confidentiality code."