The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) has conducted 42 tests for the coronavirus in South Africa, the results of which have all come back negative.
By Friday, the coronavirus death toll rose to 636 and more than 31,000 infections have been recorded across China, where the virus started, Al Jazeera reported.
The virus has since spread to other countries, with at least 25 countries reporting confirmed cases.
However, the NICD confirmed on Friday evening there was no confirmed cases in South Africa.
While 42 tests have been conducted in South Africa, NICD spokesperson Sinenhlanhla Jimoh said the collection and testing of samples from individuals with symptoms was normal and demonstrated effective surveillance of the coronavirus.
“We would like to acknowledge healthcare professionals across the country from the public and private healthcare sectors who have been instrumental in detecting, identifying and responding to possible cases,” Jimoh said.
On Thursday, News24 reported two patients in KwaZulu-Natal suspected of being infected with the coronavirus were cleared, with one case being handled at a departmental facility while the other was at a private facility in Durban.
On Wednesday, a patient in Limpopo was cleared after being held in isolation at Ellisras Hospital in Lephalale.
According to the provincial health department, this had been a precautionary measure after the man developed a high fever and other symptoms consistent with a respiratory disease.
The NICD also cautioned the public against rumours and misinformation concerning the coronavirus.
Jimoh said the public could access information from the national Department of Health, World Health Organisation and NICD communication platforms.
The NICD also gave advice to prevent the spread of the coronavirus by practising hand hygiene, cough etiquette and avoiding contact with animals when in a high-risk country.
The recommendations include:
- Avoiding close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections.
- Practice frequent hand washing, especially after direct contact with ill people or their environment.
- Avoid visiting markets where live animals are sold.
- Travellers with symptoms of acute respiratory infection should practice cough etiquette (maintain distance, cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing and wash hands).
Health practitioners should provide travellers with information to reduce the general risk of acute respiratory infections, via travel health clinics, travel agencies, conveyance operators and at points of entry. Travellers should self-report if they feel ill.
“The NICD assures the public that systems have been put in place to rapidly identify and detect any imported cases of the 2019-nCoV [coronavirus] in South Africa and that the country is prepared should we have a positive case,” Jimoh said.