Doctor who treated SA's COVID-19 patient zero optimistic over virus fight

One of the doctors who treated South Africa’s first COVID-19 patient has expressed optimism that the country will be able to defeat the coronavirus.

A screengrab of Dr Bradley Naidoo, one of the doctors who treated SA's coronavirsu Patient Zero.

DURBAN - One of the doctors who treated South Africa’s first COVID-19 patient has expressed optimism that the country will be able to defeat the coronavirus.

Friday marked exactly one year since the nation confirmed its first case.

READ: SA marks 1 year since the first COVID case was confirmed

Shortly after a 38-year-old man who had travelled to Italy was isolated at Grey’s Hospital in Pietermaritzburg, Bradley Naidoo was among the first doctors called in to assist.

Naidoo said that the experience had demonstrated the resilience of healthcare workers and he’s confident that with the vaccination roll-out, many more South Africans would be saved from the virus.

Naidoo said he was overwhelmed with fear and anxiety when he was called in to report for duty and treat patient zero a year ago.

“A million thoughts rushed through my mind at that point regarding the patient with all of this news from overseas speaking on how sick people were.

"We were wondering how sick this individual was, would he need oxygen, would he need ICU, what care could we give him because the was so little known at that point. But my thoughts also went to my own personal safety and the safety of the team around us."

ALSO READ: Mkhize praises South Africans for helping curb spread of COVID-19

Naidoo said that the virus transformed how his hospital functioned.

"The first few days were really dynamic in the sense that the things that we all took for granted, such as being able to see a patient normally, being able to take notes, prescribe medication and do testing, all become a unique challenge. Simple things like every piece of stationery or piece of paper that went into the patients' room had to remain for infection control purposes. And I think, again, through everyone's hard work we managed to do very well with the first case."

Naidoo said that the advent of new information and strategies to treat COVID-19 had taken away all fears and feelings of despair.

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