Sign over a negative pressure room is seen during a news media tour of quarantine facilities for treating novel coronavirus at Jewish General Hospital in Montreal
Sign over a negative pressure room is seen during a news media tour of quarantine facilities for treating novel coronavirus at Jewish General Hospital in Montreal

South Africa has no laboratory-confirmed case of coronavirus, says NICD

By ANA Reporter Time of article published Mar 2, 2020

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RUSTENBURG - South Africa has not had a laboratory-confirmed case of Covid-19 (coronavirus), the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) said on Monday.

"Despite this, we have noted with concern the disturbing stigmatisation against people from affected areas, which now includes countries in Asia, Europe and the Middle East. 

"Stigma has the potential to drive people to hide their illness to avoid discrimination and to further prevent people from seeking healthcare. This can lead to difficulties in identifying and controlling the spread of Covid-19 should it reach our shores," spokesperson Sinenhlanhla Jimoh said.

"Given that Covid-19 is a new disease, it is understandable that its emergence and possible importation into South Africa may cause confusion, anxiety and fear among the general public.

"However, viruses do not target people from specific populations, ethnicities, or racial backgrounds and we urge the public to desist from participating in stereotyping and discriminating against an identifiable group of people, a place, or a nation," Jimoh said.

Jimoh said anyone who develops symptoms of respiratory illness including cough, fever and shortness of breath either or during and after recent travel to countries where Covid-19 is known to be circulating must seek medical care early and share information about their travel history with healthcare providers. 

Meanwhile the World Health Organisation (WHO) said the number of cases in China continues to decline.

"Yesterday [Sunday], China reported 206 cases of Covid-19 to WHO, the lowest since 22 January. Only eight cases were reported outside Hubei province yesterday.

"Outside China, a total of 8,739 cases of Covid-19 have been reported to WHO from 61 countries, with 127 deaths," Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

He said the epidemics in the Republic of Korea, Italy, Iran and Japan were of greatest concern. He said a WHO staff member in Iran has now tested positive for Covid-19. "He has mild disease."

No further details were provided.

African News Agency

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