Durban - Five people who were holiday in the Kruger National Park have been placed into self-isolation after a French tourist who they were with tested positive for Covid-19, SANParks said on Thursday. The tourist has since been placed in isolation at a health facility in KwaZulu-Natal.
SANParks said the group had arrived in South Africa on March 14 and at the park three days later.
"Before leaving the KNP one of the tourists, a 25-year-old male, consulted the resident medical doctor in the park for what was initially suspected to be a malaria infection but later ruled out. The tourist was advised by the doctor to undergo a Covid-19 test as he complained about a sore throat and had a slight fever," said SANParks acting head of communication, Rey Thakhuli.
They said the test was conducted as per the guidelines set out by the National Department of Health.
"The details of the group obtained for easy tracing. After the test, the group left for KZN, where they were traced and attended to by the NDoH personnel in KZN. NDoH has confirmed that the five members of the group have now placed themselves in self-isolation and the patient admitted to a designated health facility in KZN," Thakhuli said.
He said once the Frenchman's results were confirmed, officials from the health department in Mpumalanga went to Skukuza to track down any staff who may have been in contact with the visitors.
"All possible contacts were speedily identified. According to NDoH protocols, the identified staff will be closely monitored for the mandatory 14 days from the date of exposure, and will immediately be taken for testing if they show any of the symptoms conforming to the Covid-19 case definition," he said.
Staff have very limited contact with visitors and all staff in national parks follow clear sanitizing protocols as per SANParks approved Standard Operating Procedures as prescribed by the World Health Organisation and NDoH guidelines.
"We believe that if staff strictly follow these safety protocols, the chances of staff contracting the disease are very low. SANParks will however continue to monitor all staff closely and continuously adapt their visitor management and sanitizing SOP’s as this situation unfolds," Thakhuli added.
All national parks remain closed in adherence to the nationwide lockdown.