Picture: 123RF/LIGHTWISE
Picture: 123RF/LIGHTWISE

The wife of the first case of coronavirus in SA has also contracted the disease, bringing to three the number of confirmed cases in SA. They were part of a group of 10 people who travelled to Italy, and the test results of the other group members will be available in the next 48 hours.

This was reported on Sunday by health minister Zweli Mkhize.

The second patient — a 39-year-old woman from Gauteng who has been admitted to hospital — had travelled to Italy with the first patient, 38-year old Mark Roe-Scott from Hilton in KwaZulu-Natal and his wife as part of a group of 10. All of the group have been traced, with the 10th person not having returned to SA.

Mkhize said the results of the tests of the other six group members would be available within the next 48 hours.

“It is important to advise the public that the couple’s children were tested and their results have come out negative. However, as part of taking extra precautions, these children will remain in self-quarantine until their parents have tested negative.

“At that point, they will also be tested to ensure that they remain negative. Until then they will be regarded as potentially infected. This means they will continue to not attend school. This is in an effort to curb the risk of spread to other children and teachers,” Mkhize said.

The minister said he had spoken to the first confirmed patient, who was “upbeat and jovial”, and to his doctor, who had confirmed that her patient was responding well and was now asymptomatic.  

Tourism minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane will meet the tourism industry on Monday to discuss the effect of Covid-19 on tourism and the recovery plan.

The tax authority has also taken precautions against the disease. SA Revenue Service (Sars) commissioner Edward Kieswetter said on Sunday that while all the agency’s tax, customs and excise operations would continue as normal, hand sanitisers would be made available to all taxpayers at Sars branches and that all frequently touched working and service areas would be kept clean with special detergents.

“In the past few weeks, Sars has made available its person protective equipment to customs officials at all ports of entry, including masks, gloves as well as hand sanitisers,” Kieswetter said.

Sars customs officials will also be supported by health officials who will screen travellers entering SA.

Sars officials are in contact with customs authorities from neighbouring states to share information regarding the Covid-19 outbreak and steps to mitigate the risk of infection.

By late Sunday afternoon Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering reported 107,559 confirmed cases worldwide, 3,648 deaths and 60,637 recoveries. Among new countries reporting cases, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), were Columbia, the Holy See, Peru, Serbia and Togo.

ensorl@businesslive.co.za