Health Minister, Dr. Zweli Mkhize, has reiterated that there are no cases of the Coronavirus in South Africa – saying an emergency operations centre has been opened should any cases be detected.
At least 213 people have died from the virus in China – with nearly 10 000 infected. The World Health Organization has declared the virus a global emergency.
Most cases have emerged in people who have travelled from the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the outbreak began.
Scientists across the globe are racing to develop a vaccine to help stem the outbreak of the virus – which causes a severe acute respiratory infection.
Briefing the media at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases in Sandringham, Johannesburg, Mkhize says health officials remain vigilant for any signs of the virus that may enter the country.
“I outlined the process of activating the emergency operations centre, should there be any public health emergency declaration by the WHO. That centre was activated last night (Thursday) and is operational. We are busy building up the staff numbers that we need. This means that we have dedicated staff working exclusively on the coronavirus, monitoring and responding to detect and follow up. There will be added personnel and resources although we have already capacitated ourselves.”