Citizen reporter
2 minute read
6 Mar 2020
4:26 pm

18 people asked to self-quarantine after contact with coronavirus patient

Citizen reporter

'We must stop spreading fake news that frightens people,' Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said. 

Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize briefs media about South Africa's plans to fight the coronavirus before it reaches our shores, at the Southern Sun OR Tambo in Kempton Park, 1 March 2020. Picture: Neil McCartney

KwaZulu-Natal health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu says the department in the province has asked 18 close contacts of the coronavirus patient to self-quarantine as they wait for their test results.

Speaking in a media briefing on Friday to update the public on South Africa’s response to Covid-19, she said: “At this point we have established that there are 18 close contacts to that person and all 18 have been spoken to, tested and they’ve all been requested to self-quarantine while we’re waiting for the results.”

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said no new infections had been identified after yesterday’s first scare in KwaZulu-Natal.

A 38-year-old businessman tested positive, but reportedly said on Friday that he was already feeling much better after being sent home by his doctor to self-quarantine.

“I believe I’m on the path to recovery and I am feeling much better than I was a few days ago. I remain in self-isolation until I have been given the all-clear. I trust the worst is over and I’m coming to grips with it,” he has said.

Government officials and parents at Cowan House Preparatory School in Hilton in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands met at the school, as the infected man is one of the school’s parents.

The school was closed for the day.

Mkhize said the department would not cancel the school’s operations.

READ NEXT: Man believed to have been in contact with coronavirus patient put in isolation

“We will be able to deal with it.”

The businessman consulted a private GP on March 3 after feeling “uncomfortable” with symptoms of fever, headache, malaise, a sore throat and a cough.

Mkhize said those who were recently in close contact with the man were currently being closely monitored for any symptoms.

Urging the country to stop spreading fake news, he said those in the hospital where the patient was kept were well and were ready to respond to the virus.

“The family has been visited by our trained team. We work in concentric circles of contacts. Anyone who is in contact with the patient will be observed.”

The minister made a call for South Africans not to stigmatise anyone with the disease so that people would not be scared to come forward and be tested.

“We must stop spreading fake news that frightens people,” Mkhize said. 

Also read: Basic advice from the WHO on how to protect yourself from Covid-19

(Compiled by Vhahangwele Nemakonde. Background reporting, Charles Cilliers and Gopolang Moloko)

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