28 February 2020
The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), a division of the National Health Laboratory Service notes the two South Africans who tested positive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on the Princess Diamond Cruise Ship in Japan. We confirm that these citizens are currently being treated in Japan and are in good care. The Department of International Relations and Cooperation and the Department of Health are in constant contact with the individuals and the Japanese authorities.
To date, there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in South Africa, and the institute continues to test for possible cases. 133 persons have been tested for SARS-CoV-2 of whom 89 met the case definition for persons under investigation (PUI) as of 28 February. We note the continued spread of COVID-19 in other parts of the world and the decrease in the number of transmissions in China. The African Region has recorded a new positive case of COVID-19 in Nigeria on 27 February. Given these recent developments globally and in Africa, it is not unlikely that we will have importation of COVID-19 to South Africa. As such, we continue to monitor trends of COVID-19 globally and in the African, Region to improve our knowledge of the disease and to continually enhance our surveillance and response.
The institute also welcomes the decision by the honourable president of the Republic of South Africa, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa to repatriate South African citizens from Wuhan city in Hubei province, China. The detailed logistics are being finalised, and the NICD is preparing to support the initiative in collaboration with all other involved government departments to ensure the containment of the virus. Based on currently available information, none of the affected individuals has been diagnosed with the virus, nor have they exhibited any symptoms of COVID-19. The NICD is working with international partners to learn from their experiences, to keep the public and the repatriated persons well and healthy.