There has been an increase in the number of imported COVID-19 cases in South Africa since the first confirmed case. The identification of additional imported cases of COVID-19 is not unexpected and is likely related to increasing numbers of cases in other parts of the world, leading to increased importation risks.
The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), a division of the National Health Laboratory Service, as from 13 March 2020, can confirm eight (8) additional new imported COVID-19 cases that have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 – the causative pathogen for COVID-19. This brings the total number of COVID-19 cases to 24 in four provinces across the country, KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng, Western Cape and Mpumalanga.
The new COVID-19 cases comprise of – in Gauteng Province – a 39-year-old woman who travelled to Switzerland and Austria, a 50-year-old man who travelled to Austria, a 21-year-old woman who travelled to Italy and a 57-year-old man who travelled to Switzerland. In KwaZulu-Natal Province, a 79-year-old man reported having travelled to Greece and Italy and a 52-year-old man travelled to Switzerland. The two cases from the Western Cape Province comprise of a 46-year-old man who travelled to Italy and a 50-year-old man who travelled to Switzerland and Austria. The 8 patients have since been isolated and are receiving care. Furthermore, contact tracing is underway.
The total provincial break down of COVID-19 cases to date is as follows:
- KwaZulu-Natal: 10
- Gauteng: 10
- Western Cape: 3
- Mpumalanga: 1
These new COVID-19 confirmed cases are not linked to the original group of 10 people who returned from Italy. There is currently no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 is widely circulating in the community in South Africa. However, based on the experience in other parts of the world it is highly likely that the status of COVID-19 transmission will change.