The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), a division of the National Health Laboratory Service, continues with surveillance activities for the COVID-19 outbreak. As of 13 February 2020, the NICD has tested 67 individuals under investigation for COVID-19, and all results have come back negative. We can confirm that South Africa has not reported any confirmed case of the COVID-2019. Should there be a positive case, official information will be communicated by the National Department of Health, the World Health Organization and the NICD.
The NICD is testing specimens collected from persons under investigation for COVID-19 using a number of published real-time Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) assays that are the same as those being used in other international public health laboratories. There are a number of laboratory controls included with each test to control for specimen quality, correct functioning of the laboratory reagents and to monitor for contamination.
We continue to provide preparedness training, guidance and support to healthcare professionals in South Africa and across the continent. So far, we have trained 650 health professionals, including medical doctors, environmental health practitioners, emergency personnel, nurses and others. The training includes guidance on what samples to collect to confirm the diagnosis as well as how to best manage the case clinically and to prevent spread to others while the diagnosis is being made.