The novel coronavirus has hit South African shores. The ministry of health said in a statement on Thursday that a suspected case of Covid-19, as the virus is called, has tested positive.
The patient, according to the department, is a 38-year-old man who travelled to Italy with his wife. They were part of a group of 10 people who arrived back in South Africa on 1 March.
“The patient consulted a private GP on 3 March with symptoms of fever, headache, malaise, a sore throat and a cough.”
The patient has been self-isolating since 3 March. The couple also has two children, the ministry said in the statement.
A “tracer team” has been deployed to KwaZulu-Natal with epidemiologists and clinicians from the National Institute for Communicable Diseases.
The GP has self-isolated as well, the ministry said.
Health minister Zweli Mkhize will hold a media briefing on Thursday evening to provide more information.
3 300 deaths
It has taken more than two months for the virus to reach South African from mainland China, where it originated. Globally the number of confirmed cases tops 96 000 with more than 3 300 people having died.
Other African countries with confirmed cases include Nigeria, Senegal, Egypt and Algeria. While countries like South Africa have prepared for the arrival of the coronavirus, smaller African economies with poor health-care systems may struggle to contain the outbreak.
The rand extended losses after the announcement, weakening more than 1% against the dollar. — (c) 2020 NewsCentral Media, with additional reporting by Renee Bonorchis, (c) 2020 Bloomberg LP