“We can assure South Africans that the country has not had a confirmed case of COVID-19”
THE NATIONAL Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) in South Africa has confirmed that reports of coronavirus in South Africa, with two “confirmed cases in the Northern Cape”, is fake news.
A spokesperson for the institute said yesterday: “For the record, we have noted the fake news and can confirm that there has been no positive case in South Africa to date.”
The fake reports states: “We have just received the news now. Coronavirus has been confirmed in South Africa. There are two confirmed cases in the Northern Cape Kathu and all our hospitals are declared a state of emergency.”
In its latest report, the NICD stated that it had tested 95 people for SARS-CoV-2, of which 53 were persons under investigation (PUI), as of February 19 and all results have come back negative.
“We can assure South Africans that the country has not had a confirmed case of COVID-19,” the institute states.
It goes on to say that the NICD and the national Department of Health will continue to issue updates on COVID-19 pertaining to South Africa’s status through communication channels.
“We wish to thank South Africans and health care professionals for continuing to provide information to the NICD through the clinicians’ hotline number and the public toll-free number.”
It urges the public to continue practising hand hygiene and cough etiquette, and adhering to the following:
Avoid close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections.
Practice frequent hand washing, especially after direct contact with ill people or their environment.
Avoid visiting markets where live animals are sold.
Travellers with symptoms of acute respiratory infection should practice cough etiquette (maintain distance, cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing and wash hands).
Health practitioners should provide travellers with information to reduce the general risk of acute respiratory infections, via travel health clinics, travel agencies, conveyance operators and at points of entry. Travellers should self-report if they feel ill.
The NICD states further that South Africa remains on high alert for COVID-19 and as part of strengthening knowledge and outbreak preparedness of COVID-19, the NICD with the national Department of Health continues to enhance surveillance activities for COVID-19 by broadening testing in addition to testing cases meeting the PUI (patients under investigation).
Northern Cape Department of Health spokesperson Lebogang Majaha confirmed that the department was aware of fake news doing the rounds on social media.