The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), a division of the National Health Laboratory Service, as of 03 March 2020, has tested a total of 164 for SARS-CoV-2 wherein 118 have met the case definition for persons under investigation (PUI) and all tests have come back negative. The NICD confirms that South Africa has not had a confirmed COVID-19 case to date.
We have noted the increase of COVID-19 cases in the African Region and the route of transmissions. An additional country – Senegal – has confirmed its first case from a French national in the past 24 hours. Working with the African Union and the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, South Africa has participated in workshops with fellow Member States to expand planning and preparation for COVID-19 within the African Region. This will strengthen surveillance and integrate the sharing of information regarding COVID-19 in Africa.
The NICD continues to intensify monitoring, engagement and the training of healthcare professionals across South Africa to scale up response and detection of COVID-19. We have developed additional resources and tools for those who are indirectly linked to COVID-19 response but play a vital role in the dissemination of information and knowledge of COVID-19.
The NICD calls on professional healthcare workers and the public to continue hygienic practices to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This by practising hand hygiene and cough etiquette, and adhering to standards for transmission prevention and practise of self-reporting when having developed symptoms and have travelled from a country where COVID-19 is circulating.