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South Africa confirms first coronavirus case

By Otiato Opali | | Updated: 2020-03-05 22:53

Zweli Mkhize, South Africa's minister of health, said on Thursday that the country's National Institute for Communicable Diseases, or NICD, has confirmed a case of the novel coronavirus after a man tested positive in Kwa-Zulu Natal province.

Mkhize said the patient is a 38 year-old male who travelled to Italy with his wife, and that they were part of a group of ten people that arrived back in South Africa on March 1.

"The couple have two children," Mkhize said. "The Emergency Operating Centre has identified the contacts by interviewing the patient and doctor. A tracer team has been deployed to Kwa-Zulu Natal with epidemiologists and clinicians from the NICD."

According to the minister, the patient consulted a private general practitioner on March 3 exhibiting fever, headache, malaise and a sore throat. He had been self isolating since March 3. Mkhize said that the doctor who attended to the victim is also under self-isolation.

The latest case brings to seven the number of countries in Africa affected by the coronavirus after Egypt, Algeria, Nigeria, Morocco, Senegal and Tunisia all reported confirmed cases.

The news of the confirmed case in South Africa broke just as the country's parliament was holding a debate on the coronavirus and South Africa's readiness to deal with it.

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