SA still has no confirmed cases of coronavirus, says NICD

SA still has no confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) confirmed on Saturday.

The confirmation comes on the heels of news of Africa’s first confirmed case of the deadly virus in Egypt and an announcement by Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) that it had registered its first suspected case of the virus.

AFP reported that Egypt’s health ministry on Friday announced the continent’s first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus.

The sufferer was not Egyptian, the ministry said in a statement, without specifying the nationality.

“The ministry has taken preventative measures and is monitoring the patient … who is stable,” AFP quoted health ministry spokesperson Khaled Megahed as saying.

Egyptian authorities had notified the World Health Organisation and the patient had been placed in quarantined isolation in hospital, the news agency reported.

And on Saturday, SABC reported that the health ministry in Eswatini had said the country had registered its first suspected case of the coronavirus.

The broadcaster said the case was identified on Friday in someone who had recently arrived in SA from China and entered the kingdom on February 6.

It quoted the director of health services in Eswatini, Dr Vusi Magagula, as saying that the person has been placed in quarantine and blood samples had been taken for further analysis.

“She presented with a fever and was at the hospital then the rapid response team took over and took up the case. She came through the Ngwenya Port of Entry on February 6 having arrived from the Republic of South Africa. I don’t think she was presenting with any symptoms, we only picked her up on the 14th because she was already now in hospital, ill and had to be admitted to the isolation ward. So I guess when she passed through OR [Tambo International Airport] or even through Ngwenya border post she didn’t have the symptoms.”

The NICD said on Saturday that it had tested 82 individuals so far for the novel coronavirus but the tests had all proved negative.