As the world grapples with the unfolding global pandemic of Coronavirus disease or COVID-19 that has spread to all continents on Earth, Africa, as well is slowly recording its first cases of the novel Coronavirus disease. Some of the countries in Africa that have already recorded their first cases include Egypt, Morocco, Libya, Nigeria, Senegal and many others. On Thursday, South Africa has also now followed suit by declaring its first Coronavirus case.

In a press release made by the Ministry of Health, the Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize announced to the republic that it had recorded its first of this deadly virus.

In its entirety the document read:

This morning, Thursday March 5, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases 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 practise 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.

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.

Dr Zweli Mkhize

Minister of Health