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Bank Employee Who Went To Italy Quarantined After SA’s First Coronavirus Case

People with protective suits and mask respirators outdoors, coronavirus concept.

Nedbank on Friday confirmed that a Durban-based staff member was among the group of 10 South Africans who travelled to Italy with a man who tested positive for coronavirus (Covid-19).

National health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize confirmed on Thursday that a 38-year old father of two was the country’s first positive testing for Covid-19.

The man from Hilton, an accountant, and his wife went on a trip to Italy together with eight others and returned to SA on Sunday. He visited his local GP following complaints of headaches, fever, a sore throat and coughing. She recommended that he get a swab as he had visited a highly infected area.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) informed him on Thursday that he had tested positive for the virus.

On Friday Nedbank confirmed to TimesLIVE that one of its senior Durban employees was among the group who travelled to Italy on holiday.

“The Durban-based employee has been self-quarantined and been tested for the coronavirus and is awaiting results in order to determine if the employee is positive or not. Nedbank can confirm that the potentially affected employee attended two meetings on March 2 at the Pine Walk branch and Nedbank’s Durban Kingsmead Campus conference centre.

“Staff that have come into contact with the potentially affected employee on March 2 have already been contacted and placed in self-quarantine. They will be tested before they are cleared from self-quarantine to return to work. The staff member did not come into contact with any clients or third parties,” Nedbank chief risk officer Trevor Adams told TimesLIVE.

He said the physical areas the potentially affected staff member came into contact with were isolated and have already been deep cleaned as a precautionary measure.

“The deep clean kills pathogens or bacteria in the air and on surfaces and the building is safe for occupation 15 minutes after it has been applied,” Adams said.

Meanwhile, two other offices closed on Friday after secondary contact with the Hilton man.

The Illovo Sugar and the Deloitte head offices which are in Mount Edgecombe and La Lucia were closed.

Calls to both offices were met with automated responses. A recording at Illovo Sugar informed callers that the office was closed for the day and would reopen on Monday.

A Deloitte employee told TimesLIVE that staff were informed that the office would be closed on Friday for a “deep clean” after it emerged that at least two employees had contact with a person who collected the Hilton man and his wife from the airport.

Deloitte’s media office had not responded to queries about the closure at the time of publishing.

Gavin Dalgleish, group MD for Illovo Sugar Africa, said management had taken precautionary actions in response to the first known case of coronavirus in SA being reported in KZN.

“The infected person, a recent past employee, was confirmed to have made contact with one of our Group Head Office employees outside of business hours.  Our medical services have established contact with the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) and all precautionary protocols are being followed.”

He said their head office was closed on Friday to undertake a “deep-clean”.


Written by Mathew

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