South Africa now has 116 confirmed cases of coronavirus. There has been an increase of 31 new cases, with 6 more new cases of local transmission.
The number of new cases since on Tuesday nights announcement shot up by 31. 25 of them have travel history through Europe while the six others have no travel history.
The Health Ministry says it is investigating to determine how the local transmissions were spread. They say as soon as they have the information, they will share with the public.
Full details, however, will not be disclosed in line with patient confidentiality. The news of the local transmissions is causing panic amongst South Africans who are now calling on stricter measures to be taken to curb the spread to locals.
— South African Government (@GovernmentZA) March 18, 2020
#COVID19SouthAfrica Update. As of this morning, 18 March 2020, South Africa now has 116 confirmed cases of #COVID19. We confirm that there has been an increase of 31 new cases from the 17 March update. pic.twitter.com/0Lv6WAfaXe
— NICD (@nicd_sa) March 18, 2020
Debate with clinicians
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize says, “I must inform the public that there was a debate with clinicians, epidemiologists [and] virologists on when we, as government must release results to the public. These experts raised an issue of an ethical obligation to immediately alert patients as soon as the results become available.
Mkhize adds: “This therefore means that by the time a confirmation test is conducted in public laboratories, patients would have been notified of their initial results. This clarification is important because as government, we had announced to the public that all positive results will be verified through our public laboratories and the NICD.”
Last Sunday, President Cyril Ramaphosa ordered the closure of South African borders to high-risk countries such as Italy and China.
He also called on citizens to remain home and avoid travel, as part of the country’s response to the coronavirus epidemic.
Government will on Wednesday gazette travel restrictions on all travellers from countries considered to be at high risk for the deadly coronavirus.
The travel ban on citizens from eight countries including the United Kingdom and the United States was announced earlier this week by Transport Minister, Fikile Mbalula at a media conference also attended by Public Enterprises Minister, Pravin Gordhan and Home Affairs Minister, Aaron Motsoaledi.
All foreign nationals from high-risk countries or who have visited these countries in the past 20 days will be denied a visa.
Travellers from medium-risk countries as identified by the Department of Health will be obliged to undergo high intensity screening while travellers who have entered the country from high-risk countries since 15 February are required to present themselves for testing.