Government retracts comment about local transmission of coronavirus

‘We want to indicate publicly we withdraw that and we regret that such a reference was made.’
Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize with other members of the Inter-Ministerial Committee dealing with the coronavirus in a media briefing. Image: Jairus Mmutle

South Africa’s health ministry on Thursday retracted a comment that the country had seen the first case of local transmission of the coronavirus, saying that an error had been made by the laboratory that tested the patient.

Sub-Saharan Africa has reported far fewer cases of coronavirus than in Europe or China, but some analysts worry it could spread rapidly in poor or overcrowded areas if local transmission does take hold.

In giving an update on cases, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize retracted a statement that a patient had contracted the virus after contact with a Chinese businessman, saying such reference should not have been made and that the person had been confirmed negative after subsequent testing.

“We want to indicate publicly we withdraw that and we regret that such a reference was made,” he said.

South Africa’s new total of 16 confirmed cases of coronavirus, up from 13 on Wednesday, is still the most in sub-Saharan Africa.

It has not reported any deaths from the virus.

If it were to take hold, the potential impact on Africa’s most industrialised economy could be substantial. It is already in recession and suffering from weak investor confidence.

South Africa has stepped up screening at ports of entry to try to limit the risk of new infections but has not imposed bans on travel to China or other badly affected countries.

The government has dispatched a plane to repatriate more than 100 South African citizens living under lockdown conditions in the Chinese city of Wuhan. None of those being repatriated have tested positive for coronavirus.

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Lord have mercy. The laboratory made a mistake. What if the man was positive and found to be negative? A false negative? How many of us are going to die healthy?

Yaa. He said the person was “just a little positive” Whahhaaaa. Like a little pregnant.

Same guy that said they will institute a no fly zone over the area where the repatriated SA’s will be in quarantine.

The WHO might want to send “Observers” here.

Hahaaaa.

This disease lays bare the ignorance and irrational emotional behaviour of people. 7% of locals have diabetes. This amounts to 3.9 million people. Diabetes is a deadly, preventable disease, but instead of acting responsibly to prevent one deadly disease, they act irrationally to combat a virus that is far less dangerous. They are afraid of Chinese businessmen while the real culprit is a Danish ice cream.

End of comments.

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