According to Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize the government is currently searching for eight other travellers who may have contracted the coronavirus along with South Africa’s first confirmed case.

The first confirmed case of the virus was announced on March 5 as a 38-year-old man in KwaZulu-Natal returned from a trip to Italy with signs of the virus and was officially diagnosed following tests.

The patient returned from a holiday in Italy on March 1 and was traveling with his wife and eight others. Authorities are currently aware of the whereabouts of the man’s spouse but are still searching for eight others identified as possible risks for spreading the deadly virus.

During a briefing by Mkhize’s briefing the public was to self-quarantine should any symptoms manifest. Mkhize also confirmed that the patient’s symptoms only appeared roughly three days after he had returned to SA and that he flew into OR Tambo International Airport before boarding a flight to Durban.

At a Parliamentary debate following the announcement of the confirmed case Mkhize said: “We are tracking down the other eight people the man travelled with to Italy so they can be quarantined and tested. We will be tracking down anyone else who may have travelled from or to the same place in Italy where this man had travelled so they can also be tested.

“There are hospitals that are ready to treat patients. The National Operations Centre will be open 24 hours. South Africa is not at a stage where there is a need to close down schools. This only happens when a significant number of cases are reported.”

Meanwhile rumors of a confirmed case of the coronavirus at Groote Schuur Hospital have been confirmed as false by the Western Cape Health Department. There are still no confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the Western Cape.

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