Egypt announced its first Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) case on Friday, making it Africa’s first documented infection.
“This is not unexpected and South Africa remains vigilant for cases of COVID-19. As of 15 February, the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) has tested 82 individuals for COVID-19. Results are all negative,” said the NICD in a tweet on Saturday.
With South Africa on high alert, the NICD and the National Health Department continue to strengthen surveillance activities through improving the training of health professionals, including medical doctors, environmental health practitioners, emergency personnel and nurses.
On Friday, the NICD conducted additional training for public and private health care practitioners, focusing on surveillance and case definitions, including who should be tested, and contact tracing.
The training covered infection, prevention and control at all hospitals, including patient flow and management, and transfer of patients to designated hospitals.
“Case identification plays an important role in detecting COVID-19 through symptoms identification.
“We recommend that persons returning to South Africa from an area with community transmission of SARS-CoV-2019, presently mainland China, self-isolate at the first onset of symptoms, such as acute respiratory illness with fever, cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties,” the NICD said.
It also recommended that should persons seek medical attention from their healthcare provider, they should disclose their travel history and seek assistance regarding isolation while waiting to be seen by a clinician, to minimise possible infection to others.
“Additionally, persons should implement measures to prevent transmission, including meticulous hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene (covering of mouth with tissues or facial mask),” said the NICD.