The Mpumalanga and Free State provinces were the latest to have confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, the Department of Health confirmed on Thursday, as South Africa’s tally rose to 17.
Until Thursday, there had been 13 confirmed cases of coronavirus confined to the provinces of KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and the Western Cape.
In a media statement on Thursday, the Department of Health confirmed four new cases in KZN, Mpumalanga, the Free State and Gauteng – with each province having one new case each.
Health Minister Zweli said a 32-year-old man who had come into contact with a Chinese businessman tested positive for the coronavirus in the Free State. This patient, who had not travelled abroad, becomes the first local transmission of the virus on South African shores.
“This is the first case of local transmission as all others have been by patients who had travelled abroad,” Mkhize cautioned.
Mkhize also said the government had noted the announcement by the World Health Organisation that the Covid-19 was now a pandemic.
“A pandemic is a worldwide spread of a new disease. Today, 12 March 2020, South Africa now has 17 confirmed cases of COVID-19. This is an additional 4 cases from Wednesday,” said Mkhize.
Free State – 1 new infection – A 32-year-old man came into contact with a Chinese businessman. He has not travelled abroad and becomes the country’s first local transmissionof the coronavirus.
Mpumalanga – 1 new infection – A 27-year-old woman who had returned from the United States on March 7, tested positive.
KZN – 1 new infection – A 38-year-old man from Durban, but who resides in Turkey, was visiting his family in South Africa when he tested postive. He arrived in the country via the UK on March 7.
Gauteng – 1 new infection – A 43-year-old Joburg man traveled to New York via Dubai and returned to South Africa on March 8. He tested positive.
Total number of confirmed coronavirus infections nationally:
This takes the number of total infections in South Africa to 17, with KZN so far the most affected with a total of 8 cases.
KZN – 8
Gauteng – 6
Western Cape – 1
Free State – 1
Mpumalanga – 1