South Africa’s cabinet of ministers will meet on Sunday, 15 March, in Tshwane to discuss the COVID-19 or Coronavirus epidemic in the country.
The special meeting will see members of Cabinet address all matters related to COVID-19.
Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu made the announcement of the special Cabinet meeting shortly after the Health Minister confirmed four new cases of Coronavirus, bringing to 17 the number of cases in the country.
“Cabinet reassures all in South Africa that the country remains on high alert. Every precaution is being taken to safeguard the country against any surge of the COVID-19,” said the Minister.
In one case in the Free State, South Africa recorded its first local transmission. Read more here…
According to the Department of Health, a 32-year-old male came into contact with a Chinese businessman, making it the first case of local transmission, as all other cases have been by patients who had travelled abroad.
Mthembu also announced that President Ramaphosa will update political parties represented in Parliament, as well as church leaders on COVID-19.
“We appeal to all to respect the privacy of CODVID-19 patients and their families.
“We also strongly caution against the dissemination of any false information related to the virus so to prevent the spread of fear, stigma and discrimination within our society,” said the Minister.
Repatriation of citizens
Cabinet also joined the President in wishing the repatriation team well and the South African Airways crew, who departed on Tuesday (March 10) to the City of Wuhan, Hubei Province, in the People’s Republic of China, to repatriate 122 South Africans.
The medical team from the Department of Health and the Military Medical Defence Force forms part of the repatriation team.
Cabinet expressed its appreciation to South African Airways for their valuable assistance in this repatriation exercise.
The repatriation team and the repatriated South Africans are expected back in the country this Friday, 13 March 2020.
Upon their return, they will be quarantined for a minimum of 14 days, to a maximum of 21 days. During this period, the movement of people and goods in and out of the quarantine zone will be restricted.
“We strongly caution people against attempting to make any physical contact or attempting to visit the quarantine zone. Once the quarantine period ends and tests confirm no underlying COVID-19 virus infection in our compatriots, they will be released back into their respective communities,” said the Minister.
Wash your hands
Cabinet also reiterated the call by the World Health Organisation and the Health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize, to continually practice preventative measures to stop the transmission and spread of the virus.
“Measures include washing your hands often with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer; avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands, and covering your mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, and disposing hygienically of the tissue,” said the Minister.
Common symptoms of the virus include fever, cough and difficulty breathing. When displaying symptoms of any illness, individuals are advised to stay home and seek medical assistance.
The public is also urged to call the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) hotline for any information related to the Coronavirus – 0800 029 999.