The novel coronavirus, which is now called COVID-19 as declared by the World Health Organization (WHO) on 11 February 2020, continues to affect many people in China and across parts of the world. South Africa remains on high alert for any suspected cases that can be imported through its borders. As of 12 February 2020, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), a division of the National Health Laboratory Service, has conducted 63 tests for COVID-19 and all came back negative. The NICD can confirm that South Africa has not had a confirmed case of COVID-19.
The National Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) housed at the NICD remains activated and continues to receive information from the clinician’s 24-hour hotline and from the general public number. We would like to remind the public of the General Public Hotline number, 011 386 2000, which operates from Monday to Friday, 08h00 to 16h00. Calls made after hours and outside the operational scope will be diverted to Johannesburg Emergency Services.
We have noted false information on Twitter under the handle @MarkSmit222 insinuating that there was a COVID-19 death in the Western Cape. We can confirm that there has been no positive case of COVID-19 nor a death so far in South Africa. Furthermore, we would like to ask the public to disregard rumours of this nature and discourage the spreading of false information. Should there be a positive case official information will be communicated by the National Department of Health, the WHO and the NICD.