Coronavirus in SA: Here's where the latest 152 cases came from as Gauteng tally gets worse
Durban - Health Minister Zweli Mkhize on Tuesday confirmed 152 new positive cases of the coronavirus in South Africa as the country's tally surpassed 500. South Africa now has 554 positive Covid-19 cases with the Gauteng the local epicentre of the virus, with more than 300 cases alone.
Gauteng, which is the smallest province in the country, but also the most populated, is followed by the Western Cape with 113 and KwaZulu-Natal with 80 infections. There have been 5 recoveries so far, the minister also announced earlier on Tuesday.
"As of yesterday, 23 March 2020, South Africa had conducted 12 815 tests for Covid-19. 10 803 of these were done in private laboratories and 2012 have been done by public laboratories," said Mkhize.
He said in some cases, the provinces, ages or genders of confirmed patients had not been revealed - which was proving to be an administrative nightmare for officials from the National Institute for Communicable Diseases.
"This is because the NICD not only has the responsibility of analysing data from each laboratory, but has found itself searching for the missing patient information of the confirmed cases.
"This has proven to be an administrative burden that, if not rectified, will hamper our efforts to immediately be in contact with patients who have tested positive, determine whether they require hospitalisation or can be treated in self-quarantine and more importantly trace all other individuals that they have been in direct contact with," Mkhize said.
Gauteng - 302
Western Cape - 113
KZN - 80
Free State - 18
Mpumalanga - 9
North West - 5
Limpopo - 4
Eastern Cape - 2
Northern Cape - 2
Unknown locations - 19
The minister explained that the only way to flatten the curve, was to ensure that all individuals who have been exposed to Covid-19 but be immediately screened and those who require tested, be tested as a matter of urgency while they remain in self-quarantine.
"If those contacts test positive, we must further identify their contacts because they also become potential positive cases. Simply put, this is a vicious cycle! And without quickly fully identifying confirmed cases and their direct contacts, the spread of the virus will just keep rising. This therefore calls for us to take stringent measures to ensure that we have all the information that is required," Mkhize said.
He said on the issue on whether confirmed patients should be named, the minister said this was a matter of ethical considerations, and said they would be forced to do so if a patient was not cooperating fully with officials.
"Whilst we know that there is an ethical obligation not to disclose patient information, with this outbreak we will exercise Regulation 18 which states that information concerning a case, contact or a carrier of the virus may be disclosed for the purpose of public health surveillance, investigation and interventions.
"This therefore means that if a confirmed case refuses to provide us with information, we will go to the extent of making a public announcement that anyone that has come into contact with that specific person (disclosing their name) must present themselves to a public," Mkhize said.IOL