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6 things you need to know about the coronavirus virus

RUNDOWN | 6 things you need to know about the coronavirus in SA

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize during the Inter-Ministerial Committee dealing with coronavirus in South Africa.

20:03 09/03/2020


The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in South Africa has increased to seven, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize confirmed on Monday.

“We are not surprised with these results, we think the kind of exposure these members had, if it was enough to create an impression in one person, it was most likely that all of them could have had a similar kind of exposure,” Mkhize said at a press briefing.

Here are 6 key points from the briefing:

1. Mkhize announced that all the people – six from KwaZulu-Natal and one in Gauteng – were part of the group of 10 who went on a ski trip to Italy.

2. The four recent people have altogether identified 65 people that they have made contact with who will be tested and monitored.

3. There has been no call by government to close schools. However, Mhkize said should schools decide to close this would be an “ad-hoc situation”.

4. Travel bans have also not been implemented in South Africa.

5. Mkhize stressed that testing is done on people arriving from outside South Africa at all ports of entry into the country. These include scans, in-flight inspections and a questionnaire for incoming international arrivals as well as some domestic flights.

6. The minister added that plans to evacuate at least 180 South Africans in Wuhan, China are still underway.

Have a look at some of our top stories:

Suspense is killing us, says teacher who wants to return to sunny SA

South African teacher Sizwe Sibiya, his wife and their 5-year-old daughter have been confined to their apartment in Wuhan for more than 50 days.

“It has been incredibly hard for everybody,” said Sibiya. “It’s quite cold here, it’s still winter,” he added. “So we are looking forward to the sun.”

Teachers in the clear for coronavirus

There are no teachers who have tested positive for Covid-19, says the National Institute for Communicable Diseases.

Pupil, teacher safety a priority, says basic education dept

As some schools close amid concerns over the coronavirus, the Department of Basic Education says it has received numerous queries about its plans to deal with the spread of the virus.

Durban pupils exposed to travel group given all-clear

A Durban North school has reported that two of its pupils, who were in contact with the South Africans who returned from coronavirus-hit Italy last week, have tested negative for the virus.

Hilton couple’s two children will now join them in quarantine

“I am sad that my wife has tested positive but I am pleased that the boys are both negative. In terms of protocol, my wife, as a confirmed patient, will join me in hospital. The boys will join us too to minimise the stress on them. In this way we can all be together and be monitored by the doctors. All three of them are still asymptomatic. The kids are in high spirits and are aware of what is going on,” said Patient Zero.

‘The girl who cracked’: Quarantine chronicles of a South African student in Wuhan

She was running around the residence, naked, and wailing. They covered her in a blanket and took her back to her room. Then, Olivia disappeared.

– Compiled by Adiel Ismail

Watch Monday’s full press briefing here: 


No teachers have tested positive for Covid-19, according to Dr Natalie Mayet from the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD).

Mayet spoke at a media briefing by an inter-ministerial committee on Monday where an update was given on the number of people affected by the coronavirus in South Africa.


No teachers have tested positive for Covid-19, says NICD


The Department of Basic Education says it has been inundated with queries about its plans to deal with potential spread of the virus in schools.


Coronavirus: Pupil, teacher safety a priority, says basic education department

 16:52Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced on Monday that four more people who were part of the a group of 9 travellers who recently returned to South Africa from Italy – the same group from which South Africa’s first three coronavirus patients came – have tested positive. Coronavirus update: 4 more cases confirmed, bringing total in SA to 7

 09 Mar 16:18

 09 Mar 16:18

About 21 contacts have been contacted by the department from the first positive case.

From the second positive person – 13 contacts, the third positive person has 15 contacts.

The fourth person is a 38-year-old female and has 16 contacts, her husband is the fifth infected person and had 15 contacts.

The sixth person to have been tested positive of the virus is a 45-year-old male in KZN with 13 contacts and the 7th person is a 38-year-old male from Pietermaritzburg with 21 contacts.

Contacts refer to the number of people the affected parties were in contact with.

 09 Mar 16:10Although a person may be tested positive for the virus, they can be sent home because there are no symptoms to be treated but will be checked on every two days until they are tested negative.

 09 Mar 16:08Even if there are symptoms there treatment received is not for the virus but for the symptoms like a cough, pneumonia, high fever.

 09 Mar 16:07

Not everyone who is infected must be hospitalised.

 09 Mar 16:03

The virus is shed from the throat round about the day that symptoms begin. It reaches its peak with about 2 days.

The illness lasts about 2 weeks in a less serious case.

 09 Mar 16:0280% of people in China have a mild sense of the disease. 20% have a more severe illness and 5% of those need ICU treatment. 2% of those die.

 09 Mar 16:00

The elderly or those over the age of 75 might have a severe case of the disease. Children under 15 years old is very rare and uncommon.

The throat swab testing done at airports looks for viral RNA in the throat. It is only present when the symptoms are present.

 09 Mar 15:57The affected South Africans from Italy are likely infected from a common source.

 09 Mar 15:5684 were identified for those who are being repatriated from China, Once everything is closed it will be announced says Mkhize.

 09 Mar 15:55There’s not a large number of infections from child to child, says Mkhize.

 09 Mar 15:54

 09 Mar 15:53The department doesn’t do routine checks. One issue is that a person must have symptoms and they must have travelled from a place with high infections Mkhize says.

 09 Mar 15:52

The students in Limpopo came from China. Our focus was on the people who came from Wuhan – where the was a lockdown and quarantine and where there was the highest number of infected people.

The health department wasn’t too worried with the Limpopo students because they weren’t from Wuhan. They would not have been allowed to leave China if they were infected with Covid-19, Mkhize says.

 09 Mar 15:50There is close interaction between the health and education departments says Mkhize.

 09 Mar 15:49The case in the North West, the case came up ambivalent, it didn’t show negative or positive. A retest was done and the person was negative of the coronavirus.