Corona virus alert in country

Tygerberg Hospital is a designated facility for the isolation of coronavirus patients in Cape Town.

As the country received news of its first coronavirus patient, Tygerberg Hospital reported a “suspected case” of novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19, in Parow.

However, the man lied to health officials about a trip to a coronavirus-hit country in order to receive medical treatment on Friday March 6.

Provincial health spokesperson Mark van der Heever said the person used the Covid-19 situation for his personal gain to be attended to soonest.

He said the man did show signs that he could be suffering from coronavirus but did not meet the case definition and was discharged.

There are currently no cases in the Western Cape, and the department is asking the public not to use the Covid-19 situation for personal gain, as this leads to the misuse of resources and unnecessary panic.

Today, Wednesday March 11, media are to visit the isolation ward dedicated to dealing with cases of the virus at Tygerberg Hospital. After the tour the ward will be decontaminated.

Tygerberg Hospital is a designated facility for the isolation of coronavirus patients in Cape Town. Groote Schuur Hospital and the Red Cross War Memorial Hospital are on standby if the need arises.

On Saturday, a 39-year-old woman from Gauteng, who is said to have had close contact with the couple, also tested positive. They were part of a group of 10 people and they arrived back in South Africa on Sunday March 1. The male patient has been self-isolating since Tuesday March 3 and is doing well.

On Thursday March 5, Cape Town Tourism confirmed that the World Travel Market (WTM) Africa would go ahead next month. At the meeting, arranged by the City of Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for economic opportunities and asset management, James Vos, with Western Cape MEC for Health, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, Cape Town Tourism CEO, Enver Duminy, said while Cape Town had no confirmed cases of Covid-19 currently, the city was preparing a toolkit for the local tourism industry who may have questions – this would be available on their website.

Mr Duminy said they are already seeing a substantial drop in tourism and travel globally, and an expected drop of 10% from key source markets over the coming months.

Dr Mbombo said the situation was changing so fast. As of Monday March 9 there are 110 381 Covid-19 confirmed cases globally, with a 6% mortality rate. The virus is quickly evolving and has spread to 109 countries and one cruise liner.

Following the diagnosis of the first African patient with Covid-19 on Thursday February 27 in Nigeria, Dr Mbombo said it was not if the virus arrived, but when.

Three days later a 38-year-old man from KwaZulu-Natal tested positive for the virus after returning from a holiday with his family in Italy. His wife has since tested positive in self-quarantine.

Western Cape Department of Health head of department, Dr Keith Cloete, said when people entered the country via ports and airports, if they suffered symptoms of a dry cough and fever and had a history of being in contact with someone affected by the virus, they were tested.

Dr Mbombo demonstrated coughing or sneezing into the elbow, as opposed to the hand, and to emphasised creating a culture of washing hands.

Infectious Disease specialist/virologist, Dr Jantjie Taljaard of Tygerberg Hospital, said Covid-19 symptoms were similar to those of tuberculosis (TB) and started with a dry cough.

However, TB comes over time. He said people with a lowered immune systems could be worse affected by the virus than those with a strong immune system.

* If you think you are infected, inform the doctor before you go, rather than wait in the waiting room with other people.

* Visit www.westerncape.gov.za/coronavirus or contact the public hotline at 08600 029 999.