Media Centre

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While there has been no case of Coronavirus reported in South Africa, people who develop symptoms of respiratory illness during or after travel to countries where the outbreak is known to be circulating, have been advised to seek early medical care.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) on Monday, 24 February 2020, said it continued to monitor the rapidly evolving developments surrounding Coronavirus cases in several cities in China and other countries in South Asia, North America, Europe and Egypt.

Last week Thursday, the World Health Organisation (WHO) confirmed a case of Coronavirus in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The NICD said its highly specialised team of experts, which is responsible for performing Coronavirus monitoring and testing for South Africa and a number of African countries, remained on alert for potential cases of the disease that may reach South Africa.

“Surveillance of the Coronavirus outbreak remains a key priority for South Africa, and we continue to intensify screening at all ports of entry, with a particular focus on our major airports of entry. Evidence continues to support this approach as the vast majority of cases are introduced into territories outside of China by air travellers,” the NICD said.

As of 21 February 2020, the NICD had tested 107 people for Coronavirus.

“The NICD can confirm that all results came back negative for SARS-CoV-2 and that South Africa has not had a case of COVID-19.”

The institute has advised people who develop symptoms of respiratory illness, including cough, fever and shortness of breath, either during or after travel to countries where Coronavirus is known to be circulating, to seek medical care early, and share information about travel history with their healthcare providers.