Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize is on his way to visit Cowan House Preparatory School in Pietermaritzburg after it emerged yesterday that a 38-year-old man with the country’s first confirmed Coronavirus case was a parent of two children at the school.
Mkhize will be accompanied by KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Health Nomagugu Simelani-Zulu and officials from the National Institute for Communicable Diseases.
The KwaZulu-Natal man, who’s the first in South Africa to be confirmed with the coronavirus, says he developed symptoms after returning from a skiing trip in Italy.
According to South African health authorities, the man’s two children attend school at Cowan House.
This is the first confirmed case of the coronavirus to hit South Africa yesterday since the outbreak of the deadly disease.
Health authorities have confirmed that a total of 97,852 infections have been confirmed world-wide and more than 3,300 people have been killed by the virus.
The NCID said after the meeting with the school’s board and management, the minister will address the media to give an update on the developments.
According to Mkhize, the KZN man flew into OR Tambo, and then flew from Johannesburg to Durban on the same day.
“The patient is a 38-year-old male who travelled to Italy with his wife. They were part of a group of 10 people and they arrived back in South Africa on March 1, 2020,” Mkhize said.
As of Thursday night officials were contacting those who were seated near him on both planes.
Tracer teams are currently in KwaZulu-Natal, tracking down others he may have had contact with.
Mkhize said direct contacts such as family will be placed into quarantine, and a broader group of contacts will be checked for symptoms such as fever.
Meanwhile, President Cyril Ramaphosa has urged South Africans not to panic.
“The report I received from the Minister of Health has demonstrated to me that we can be more alert and we can go to higher levels of alert,” said Ramaphosa.
(Additional information from agencies)