The seven people in South Africa that have tested positive for the Covid-19 coronavirus have been in direct contact with over 100 people, the Department of Health reports.
The 38-year-old male who was symptomatic in KwaZulu-Natal, and who was the first case to test positive on 3 March, reported being in contact with 13 people. The other six patients, who were all part of the same holiday group, had a combined 92 contacts, taking the total to 105.
This is the full list of confirmed cases and the number of people they were in contact with:
- A 38-year-old male who was symptomatic in KZN. 13 contacts reported.
- A 30-year-old female who was symptomatic in Gauteng. 13 contacts reported
- A 38-year-old female who was asymptomatic in KZN. 15 contacts reported
- A 38-year-old female in KZN who was asymptomatic. 16 contacts reported
- A 38-year-old male in KZN who was asymptomatic. 15 contacts reported
- A 45-year-old male who was symptomatic in KZN. 12 contacts reported
- A 38-year-old male in KZN with mild symptoms. 21 contacts reported.
“All of these patients belonged to the group that traveled to the Province of Milan in Italy on a ski trip. There were 10 members of that traveling group and one did not return to South Africa but traveled to the UK. The remaining two travelers are currently under home quarantine and await their test results which should take about 48 hours to be concluded,” the department said.
It added that all patients are currently in isolation facilities where they are being treated, and the contacts are under quarantine.
“All contacts have been traced and are being tested. All contacts are currently under home-based quarantine. These quarantine procedures are benchmarked against world standards for home-based quarantine and are being strictly monitored by the contact tracing team,” the department said.
“We categorically state that there are no other Covid-19 positive patients in South Africa.”
Grayston Preparatory School
On Monday, Grayston Preparatory School closed its doors after it emerged that a staff member came into contact with one of the people who tested positive for coronavirus last week.
The school will undergo a deep-cleaning process in preparation for re-opening its doors to learners on Wednesday.
“As the department, we can confirm that Grayston Preparatory School will be opening its doors on Wednesday. On Tuesday, they will be doing what they refer to as deep cleaning,” said Gauteng Education spokesperson Steve Mabona.
The school’s executive team met with representatives of the Grayston school board, the Gauteng Education Department, the Gauteng Health Department and the Independent Schools Association of Southern Africa on Monday.
“We have also taken independent medical advice. Based on the advice received, the following actions will occur.
“The staff member in question will remain in self-imposed isolation for the quarantine period. At this stage, she remains asymptomatic and in good health. She will take guidance from the NICD [National Institute for Communicable Diseases] as to the protocol going forward,” said Grayston Preparatory School in a statement on Monday.
The school stressed that according to information from experts, its staff, children and parents are, at most, secondary or tertiary contacts and so are at very low risk.
The difference between Isolation and Quarantine
Isolation refers to the isolation and confinement of Covid-19 positive individuals and this happens at one of the designated isolation facilities in South Africa.
Quarantine implies the use or creation of appropriate facilities in which persons are separated from the community while being attended to. According to the World Health Organisation, possible settings include “holiday facilities, dormitory or military facilities, amongst others, while home-based quarantine may be the only feasible option.”
“In the setting of quarantine, the people being attended to are well but have had exposure to Covid-19. They are therefore quarantined to allow the incubation period to pass and wait for the test results when they are conducted,” the health department said.
Restrictions on movement
Government said it is acutely aware of the concerns that have been raised around activities and places that require the congregation of groups of people, but there are no current plans to restrict any of these activities.
“We are aware of all the major religious, business, political and civilian activities that are on the itinerary for the year. We are also aware that there are school groups, sports groups and cultural touring groups that had planned trips abroad and are now concerned about the global state of affairs,” it said.
Decisions to put restrictions on the movement and gathering of people is one that cannot be taken lightly. It will require extensive consultation, on an urgent basis, to ensure that safety of citizens is placed at the forefront of deliberations whilst we weigh up the consequences of such measures, it said.
“As such, we are not yet at a stage to make major announcements on any type of restriction or travel bans, however, South Africans must be assured that the matters are currently being deliberated and will require a cabinet decision.
“We reiterate that the safety of our citizens remains sacrosanct,” the government said.