- Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has confirmed the first case of the coronavirus in SA
- The minister revealed that the patient is a 38-year-old male who had travelled recently to Italy
- They had formed part of a group of ten people who had arrived back in SA on 1 March
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Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has announced the first confirmed case of the coronavirus in South Africa.
In a statement on the matter, Mkhize revealed that the disease had been contracted in Italy:
"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."
After feeling ill, the unidentified man had consulted a doctor with a specimen tested for the virus:
"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."
Mkhize further explained that the Emergency Operating Centre is currently investigating:
"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."
In the meantime, a team has been sent to KwaZulu-Natal in a bid to ensure any possible infections are detected:
"The tracer team has been deployed to KwaZulu-Natal with epidemiologists and clinicians from NICD. The doctor has been self-isolated as well."
Mkhize confirmed that a media briefing would be held in order to keep the public up to date:
"This media briefing is to ensure that the public is immediately kept abreast. A press briefing will be held later after the parliamentary debate this evening, to shed more light on this issue."
Reports say that an operation is currently underway to bring home 185 South Africans living in China in the wake of the outbreak.
In a letter sent to National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise, President Cyril Ramaphosa confirmed that 151 South African National Defense Force officials would be deployed to aid the process.
The entire operation is estimated to cost in the region of R25 million according to the president.
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