Picture: GALLO IMAGES/AFP/BERND THISSEN
Picture: GALLO IMAGES/AFP/BERND THISSEN

Health minister Zweli Mkhize has confirmed SA’s first case of the new coronavirus that emerged in China in late December, making SA the seventh country on the continent to do so.

The new respiratory illness, known as Covid-19 , has affected travel and trade around the world, and wreaked havoc on financial markets.

By March 5, Covid-19 had sickened more than 94,000 people and killed more than 3,200 people across 81 countries and territories, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

“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 SA on March 1 2020,” Mkhize said in a statement on Thursday afternoon.

Health minister Zweli Mkhize confirmed the first case of the Coronavirus in South Africa on March 5 2020. Speaking at a media briefing in Cape Town, the minister said that a 38-year-old man who tested positive for Covid-19 is a South African citizen who travelled through OR Tambo International Airport and took a connecting flight to KwaZulu-Natal.

“The patient consulted a private general practitioner on March 3, with symptoms of fever, headache, malaise, a sore throat and a cough. The practice nurse took swabs and delivered it to the lab. The patient has been self-isolating since March 3. The couple also has two children.” 

Mkhize said a team has been deployed to KwaZulu-Natal with epidemiologists and clinicians from the National Institute of Communicable Diseases.

The doctor has been self-isolated as well.

kahnt@businesslive.co.za