The first known case in South Africa is a man who travelled from Italy, then on to Durban.
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said the positive test for the novel coronavirus in South Africa was from a sample taken on 3 March.
The 38-year old infected man had arrived in South Africa two days before, on 1 March, Mkhize said. Both he and the doctor he went to self-isolated on 3 March.
Mkhize said the infected man’s symptoms were not very severe, but he was “uncomfortable”.
Big upcoming gatherings, including around Easter, now have to be reconsidered.
Other countries rapidly banned big public gatherings to slow the spread of Covid-19.
The South African government would talk to sporting bodies and churches, Mkhize said in a press conference on Thursday – including around Easter, which sees some of the largest annual gatherings of people in Southern Africa.
Here are some of the biggest upcoming events in South Africa, and where you can find out more as they announce arrangements, cancellations, and refunds.
- Ramfest 13 March 2020
- Cape Town International Jazz Festival 27-28 March
- Kirstenbosch Summer Sunset Concerts 8th March – 5th April
- Cape Town Carnival 21 March 2020
- Decorex Cape Town 30th April – 3 May
- Afrikaburn 27 April – 3 May
- South African Cheese Festival 25th April – 27th April
- Bazique Festival 13th March – 15th March
- ABSA Soccer Premiership fixtures March – April 2020
- Quicket Events March – April 2020
- Super Rugby Fixtures 2020
Schools will not be closed down – yet
In Italy, and elsewhere, measures to stop or slow the spread of the Covid-19 virus included shutting down schools and universities.
South Africa would not do that on the basis of one case, Mkhize said on Thursday.
South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases has called for calm.
Most people who think they have the Covid-19 virus probably don’t, data to date suggests.
Up to 4 March it had tested 181 people for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the NICD said, of which 132 fell within the category of “persons under investigation”. All of those tests were negative – until the first positive case was identified on the morning of 5 March.
You can phone 0800 029 999, day or night, for more information – in theory.
The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) has a toll-free number for the public that deals with Covid-19 questions: 0800 029 999.
With the first case of infection now confirmed, that line will operate 24 hours per day, Mkhize told Parliament.
But on Thursday afternoon, shortly after the announcement, the NICD was apparently struggling with call volumes, with calls going unanswered or being dropped.
In other countries, toilet paper and pasta became hot commodities shortly after Covid-19 outbreaks.
Masks of various kinds became hot commodities in countries that detected the novel coronavirus – but shelves were rapidly emptied of toilet paper in Australia, and Italy saw fights about pasta.
South African retailers have had some time to prepare for the effects of the virus, and the impact it is likely to have on logistics operations, and so far have managed to keep shelves stocked.
If you have a mild case of Covid-19, your medical scheme may not pay up – but you are covered for the most common way it goes bad.
People infected with the virus behind Covid-19, properly known as SARS-CoV-2, can be entirely asymptomatic. Others may have only a mild case, worldwide reports show, much like a cold.
Depending on the nature of your medical aid, and just how comprehensive it is, you may have to pay for both diagnosis and treatment of such a case out of your own pocket, the Council for Medical Schemes said on Thursday.
But if things go bad, you are covered.
Pneumonia is one of the most common complications of Covid-19, the organisation said – and that is a prescribed minimum benefit (PMB) condition in South Africa.
“All medical schemes are required by law to pay for the diagnosis, treatment and care costs for this condition in full, irrespective of plan type or option,” the council said.
“Medical schemes are not allowed to fund PMB conditions from a member’s Medical Savings Account”.
Here are the symptoms to look out for.
The common signs of infection with the novel coronavirus, the South African department of health says, include a fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
If you experience those or other flu-like symptoms and have reason to believe you may have been infected (such as recent contact with someone who has travelled to a high-risk country including Italy), the Council for Medical Schemes recommends seeking immediate help at your nearest clinic, hospital, or general practitioner.
The World Health Organisation has released guidelines to help businesses prepare their workplaces
The World Health Organisation has released guidelines to help businesses prepare their workplaces for a Covid-19 outbreak.
Measures include making sure your workplace is clean and hygienic – including objects like phones and keyboards. This means cleaning surfaces like desks and tables and objects (like telephones and keyboards) with disinfectant, regularly. The coronavirus appears to easily spread on surfaces touched by employees and customers.
The WHO also recommends workplaces install hand sanitiser and soap wash stations.
The coronavirus is thought to spread mainly through droplets, so you need to wash your hands properly
To reduce your chance of infection, regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.
Hand-washing takes less than half a minute, yet an estimated 97% of people do it wrong.
“It’s recommended that you wash your hands for the amount of time it takes to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ twice – about 20 seconds,” says family physician Dr Sarah Borwein. Twenty seconds has been shown to be the minimum amount of time it takes to really remove germs.”
If you don’t wash long enough, even with soap, it could backfire.
“Chances are that you are not effectively removing all the disease-causing germs that are lurking on them,” Borwein tells Insider.
The list of countries with Covid-19 is likely to grow quickly: the disease could become a pandemic that affects between 40% and 70% of the world’s adult population one expert estimates.
In the last week, the number of global coronavirus cases jumped by more than 10,000.
As the outbreak nears pandemic level – more than 95,000 people have been infected, and the virus has spread to more than 80 countries – the question remains: How much worse will this get?
Much worse, according to Marc Lipsitch, an epidemiologist at Harvard University.
“There’s a chance that between 40% and 70% of the world’s adult population could end up infected with coronavirus,” he says.
That would mean the world could see between 3.1 billion and 5.5 billion coronavirus cases before the outbreak subsides.
See also: Between 40% and 70% of adults worldwide could get the coronavirus, Harvard expert says
The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) has a short video with much of what you need to know about coronaviruses.
Source: Business Insider