South Africa’s Health Ministry has revealed that a 38-year-old man who returned from Italy trip has tested positive for COVID-19.
South African health officials Thursday confirmed the first case of the novel coronavirus in the country.
According to a statement by the Health Department, a 38-year-old man who returned from an Italy trip with his wife, tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday morning.
“The patient consulted a private general practitioner on March 3, with symptoms of fever, headache, malaise, a sore throat and a cough. The practice nurse took swabs & delivered it to the lab. The patient has been in self-isolation since March 3,” the statement said.
It added that the couple was among 10 people who returned to South Africa from Italy on March 1.
The doctor who attended to the patient was also quarantined, according to the statement.
A team of health experts has now been deployed to the coastal province of KwaZulu-Natal where the patient and doctor reside.
Last week, President Cyril Ramaphosa authorized the repatriation of nearly 200 South African citizens from China’s Wuhan city, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak.
Later today, South Africa’s parliament will debate the country’s readiness to deal with COVID-19.
The novel coronavirus has now spread to over 80 countries after emerging in Wuhan last December.
The global death toll is over 3,200, with more than 95,000 confirmed cases, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Notably, some 52,000 former patients who contracted the virus have recovered.
The WHO, which already declared the outbreak an international health emergency, recently updated the global risk level from high to very high.