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LIVE BLOG: Coronavirus: 'Effect will be big. South Africans will need to be prepared' - Ramaphosa

The first case of coronavirus in South Africa has been officially confirmed.

WATCH: Here's a recap of what President Ramaphosa said about the case.

The two South Africans who tested positive for the coronavirus on the Diamond Princess cruise ship have been cleared.

Mkhize will not say where in KZN patient is from. He has been taken to hospital for treatment. 

"It will have huge impacts on a number of things... travel... our economy...  it is already showing signs of negative impact on tourism...," Ramaphosa says. "The effect will be big. South Africans will need to be prepared."

Ramaphosa says government is in constant contact with the World Health Organisation as they are the main source of help globally.

"Government will demonstrate seriousness in terms of dealing with this matter and continue to be transparent," Ramaphosa says.

Ramaphosa says those who show signs should immediately get medical help.

Ramaphosa says he is impressed with the level of preparedness by the health department.

Ramaphosa says he instructed Mkhize to let the nation know in Parliament so as to stop fake news from spreading.

"We demand medical equipment to fight against #CoronavirusSA," declares the South African Emergency Medical Services personnel union.

The Health Department has published cautions for the public to heed:

Uh oh! It looks like panic buying has already begun...

Screening and prevention is very serious, Mkhize says.

"All of us must be on alert," Mkhize says.

Mkhize acknowledges the issue the public health system has but reassures that SA's preparedness is not a concern.

Mkhize says hygiene is very important.

All the African countries which have cases have recorded contact with persons in Italy, Mkhize says.

Now that the first case has been confirmed, the national operations centre set up for this will run 24 hours.

"This spread is indeed worrying."

"We must not allow panic to set in," Mkhize says.

A team has been dispatched to KZN already. Government is tracing others who have come back who may have been exposed. They will be tested.

Mkhize has already briefed Ramaphosa on the case.

Mkhize says there needs to be responsibility and sensitivity around the matter.

"We cannot afford to politicking and point-scoring," Mkhize tells MPs.

Minister Mkhize is now addressing Parliament

This week, the World Bank is providing up to $12 billion in immediate support for countries coping with the health and economic impacts.

Coronavirus has been with us for 8 weeks so far:

READ: Preventing the spread of #coronavirus in the workplace.

A press briefing will be held later after the parliamentary debate this evening to shed more light on this issue. This media briefing is to ensure that the public is immediately kept abreast. 

Fighting fake news around coronavirus is a key focus of government. Africa Check recently debunked the fake news around a "cure".

A number of things around the world have been cancelled or postponed because of coronavirus. Here's a few of them:

Government is warning against fake news which will create unnecessary panic.

Coronavirus disruption could cost African airlines $40 million in revenue this year, a global industry body said on Wednesday, a potentially devastating hit to often struggling airlines counting on lucrative Chinese routes to fund expansion.

FROM THE ARCHIVES: EWN chatted to members of the Chinese community in South Africa to find out how they were being affected by the outbreak of the coronavirus.

Chirwa says government must embark on a mass info campaign to inform citizens.

The EFF's Naledi Chirwa says the threat should have all of us concerned. She refutes Minister Mkhize's claim that SA is ready to tackle coronavirus and contain is.

Hmmm, former DA leader Mmusi Maimane may have hinted at the news earlier today.

Dhlomo says it is important for government to keep communicating the right info about coronavirus and root out fake news.

Dhlomo says the Department of Health has embarked on an important plan for preparedness for the coronavirus.

Former KZN MEC and now chairperson of the National Assembly's Health Committee  Sibongiseni Dhlomo is now addressing Parliament.

"The coronavirus is a public health emergency," DA says.

"This is not the time for executive arrogance," the DA in Parliament says. "If we get this wrong, there will be preventable loss of lives."

The Democratic Alliance had called for the Parliamentary debate to discuss SA's readiness for coronavirus.

WATCH LIVE: Parliament debates coronavirus in SA

In a statement, the health department said:

Fellow South Africans
 
This morning, Thursday March 5, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) confirmed that a suspected case of COVID-19 has tested positive.
 
The patient is a 38-year-old male who travelled to Italy with his wife. They were part of a group of 10 people and they arrived back in South Africa on March 1, 2020.
 
The patient consulted a private general practitioner on March 3, with symptoms of fever, headache, malaise, a sore throat and a cough.  The practice nurse took swabs and delivered it to the lab.
 
The patient has been self-isolating since March 3. The couple also has two children.

 The Emergency Operating Centre (EOC) has identified the contacts by interviewing the patient and doctor. The tracer team has been deployed to KwaZulu-Natal with epidemiologists and clinicians from NICD. The doctor has been self-isolated as well.

The first case of coronavirus in South Africa has been officially confirmed.