The South African Health Department has activated an emergency operations centre to deal with the global outbreak of the Corona Virus.
Johannesburg, South Africa (17 February 2020) – Egypt announced its first Corona Virus disease 2019 (COVID-19) case on Friday, making it Africa’s first documented infection.
“This is not unexpected, and South Africa remains vigilant for cases of COVID-19. As of 15 February, the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) has tested 82 individuals for COVID-19. Results are all negative,” said the NICD in a tweet on Saturday.
With South Africa is on high alert, the NICD and the National Health Department continue to strengthen surveillance activities through improving the training of health professionals, including medical doctors, environmental health practitioners, emergency personnel and nurses.
On Friday, the NICD conducted additional training for public and private health care practitioners, focusing on surveillance and case definitions, including who should be tested, and contact tracing.
The training covered infection, prevention and control at all hospitals, including patient flow and management, and transfer of patients to designated hospitals.
“Case identification plays an important role in detecting COVID-19 through symptoms identification.
“We recommend that persons returning to South Africa from an area with community transmission of SARS-CoV-2019, presently mainland China, self-isolate at the first onset of symptoms, such as acute respiratory illness with fever, cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties,” the NICD said.
It also recommended that should persons seek medical attention from their healthcare provider; they should disclose their travel history and seek assistance regarding isolation while waiting to be seen by a clinician, to minimise possible infection to others.
“Additionally, persons should implement measures to prevent transmission, including meticulous hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene (covering of mouth with tissues or facial mask),” said the NICD.
Meanwhile, the South African Health Department has activated an emergency operations centre to deal with the global outbreak of the Corona Virus.
“The emergency centre was activated on the 31 January 2020 and is now currently operational. We are busy building up the staff numbers, but from last night, activities have started,” said Health Minister Zweli Mkhize.
Activation of the operations centre on South African shores means that there are dedicated staff working exclusively on the Coronavirus. In addition to the operations centre, the department announced the following hospitals as centres for isolation and treatment of people infected with Coronavirus:
- Polokwane Hospital in Limpopo
- Rob Ferreira Hospital in Mpumalanga
- Charlotte Maxeke Hospital, Steve Biko Hospital and Tembisa Hospitals in Gauteng
- Grace Hospital in KwaZulu-Natal
- Klerksdorp Hospital in the North West
- Kimberly Hospital in the Northern Cape
- Pelonomi Hospital in the Free State
- Livingstone Hospital in the Eastern Cape
- Tygerberg Hospital in the Western Cape
For more information about the South African Emergency Operations Centres, click here.