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It’s official. South Africa has just logged its first COVID-19 coronavirus case in Kwazulu-Natal. In a statement on Thursday, the ministry of health confirmed that a 38-year-old man who returned from a trip to Italy tested positive for the virus. He was part of a group of 10.
Italy is Europe’s hardest hit nation with more than 3000 identified cases at the time of writing.
“The patient consulted a private general practitioner on March 3, with symptoms of fever, headache, malaise, a sore throat and a cough,” the department said in a statement.
“The practice nurse took swabs and delivered it to the lab. The patient has been self-isolating since March 3.”
FIRST CASE OF COVID-19 CORONAVIRUS REPORTED IN SA The patient has been self-isolating since March 3. The couple also has two children.
The Emergency Operating Centre (EOC) has identified the contacts by interviewing the patient and doctor #CoronaVirusSA #CoronavirusOutbreak
— Department of Health (@HealthZA) March 5, 2020
The NICD also issued a statement, noting that this is not a “failure” of South Africa’s health systems, but a “success”.
Globally, the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases is nearing the 100 000 mark.
South Africa’s first case pushes the total known cases in Africa to 22. All cases remain ongoing. No recoveries or deaths have been reported on the continent as yet.
Algeria remains the African country hardest hit by the virus with 12 cases.
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- Follow our Twitter list of scientists, government personnel and reporters covering the outbreak.
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Feature image: Andy Walker/Memeburn