Covid-19: South Africa’s President Ramaphosa warns of crisis as first case reported

PRETORIA, South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa has warned that the coronavirus will turn into a “national crisis” and its impact will be “huge”.

His warning came after the first case of the coronavirus was detected in South Africa.

The patient is a 38-year-old man who visited Italy with his wife.

This brings to 27 the number of coronavirus cases reported in Africa. Algeria is worst-affected, with 17 cases, 16 of them in the same family.

The South African couple, who have two children, were part of a group of 10 who returned from Italy on 1 March, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said.

The man and the doctor who first treated him were both in self-isolation in the eastern KwaZulu-Natal province, he added.

Ramaphosa urged South Africans not to panic and to get immediate medical help if they showed symptoms of Covid-19.

“It will have a huge impact on a number of things… travel… our economy. It is already showing signs of a negative impact on tourism.

“The effect will be big. South Africans will need to be prepared,” he was quoted by privately owned Eyewitness News as saying.

Two other South Africans who were admitted to hospital in Japan with the coronavirus have recovered, and would return home soon, other officials said.

The pair had been hospitalised in Japan after being taken ashore from the Diamond Princess cruise ship they were working on.

People aboard the ship were first quarantined in January when a passenger who disembarked in Hong Kong tested positive for the coronavirus.

South Africa’s government said it was at an “advanced stage” with its plan to bring its citizens back from Wuhan city in China, the epicentre of the outbreak.

“A total of 184 South Africans have indicated their desire to be repatriated,” it added in a statement.

Source: NAM News Network

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