As rumours spread regarding Thaba ‘Nchu in the Free State as the site for quarantine of South Africans repatriated from Wuhan – the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, News24 toured Bloemfontein’s Pelonomi Hospital – the province’s isolation spot.
A second case of the novel coronavirus has been confirmed in South Africa.
A 39-year-old woman from Gauteng, who was part of the same travel group to Italy as the first case, has been diagnosed with the virus, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said on Saturday.
The Department of Health has details on the rest of the tour group and those who have returned to South Africa are being tested, Mkize said.
“The second patient who has now tested positive for Covid-19 will now be immediately admitted to a public health facility in Gauteng that government has identified as one of the hospitals that are ready to receive Covid-19 positive patients,” he said.
The news of the first confirmed Covid-19 case in South Africa, has stirred concern among South Africans who fear they too may fall victim to the deadly virus.
“The public must be notified that we have information and know the whereabouts of all the other 10 people who were part of the group that had travelled to Italy. All those who came back to South Africa are currently being tested. We are now awaiting their test results. Since being traced, they have remained in isolation to avoid any further contact with third parties.”
Mkhize said the second patient will immediately be admitted to a public health facility in Gauteng that government has identified as one of the hospitals that are ready to receive Covid-19 positive patients.
“We are now following all the protocols that we have already publicly announced to the public in dealing with this case. We will keep the public fully informed on all relevant developments.
Ramaphosa added he had told Health Minister Zweli
‘Calm and cooperation’
“We also wish to notify the public that our embassy has advised us that a 39-year-old male South African who works in Daegu, South Korea, has also tested positive for Covid-19. He was due to return to South Africa and has since remained in South Korea. We are now following up with the South Korean authorities firstly to obtain formal confirmation of this case and also the details of where our citizen is being treated,” Mkhize said.
The minister reiterated his call for calm and cooperation from the public and the media during this period. “We also request that the privacy of the patients, the affected individuals and families be respected.
“Our commitment to do everything in our power to mitigate against the uncontrollable spread of COVID-19 in our country, remains.”
On Thursday, a 38-year-old Hilton businessman was confirmed positive with South Africa’ s first case of Covid-19.