The National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) has confirmed it has tested 61 individuals since the outbreak of the coronavirus. None of the patients tested positive for the dreaded virus.
“So there are no confirmed cases of the 2019 coronavirus (2019 nCoV) in South Africa,” NICD spokeswoman Sinenhlanhla Jimoh said on Tuesday.
According to a statement, South Africa remains a preferred destination for travelers and receives many travelers daily at Cape Town International Airport and Oliver Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg.
However, the NICD ensures that all domestic airports, including the two, remain on a high readiness basis should a coronavirus carrier enter the country. “It is possible that we can detect a case and as such we want to assure the public that should this happen, the country is well prepared to deal with it,” says Jimoh.
Jimoh said 130 health workers, including doctors, nurses and emergency services, received training at Tshepong Hospital in Klerksdorp, North West, on Tuesday. This training includes which samples of patients should be taken to be tested for the coronavirus as well as how to treat a confirmed case.
South Africa’s neighbor Namibia has also since set up a mobile hospital near Hosea Kutako International Airport outside Windhoek to treat patients who may enter the country with the virus. The hospital has 18 beds as well as a two-bed unit.
The NICD asks South Africans to be health conscious and maintain the necessary hygiene amid fears about the virus. Symptoms include fever and difficulty breathing.