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Infectious Diseases

Updated 14 March 2020

Coronavirus morning update: SA cases now at 24, China sends help to Italy, and don't forget the kids

Your latest coronavirus news: South Africa's confirmed positive cases now stand at 24; but this so far is limited to four provinces only; and all the local cases involve people who have been overseas and travelled to SA.

WHAT'S HAPPENING IN SA

Cases update: 

Another eight positive cases have been confirmed, bringing the total number in South Africa to 24.

The cases are spread across four provinces only - Gauteng with 10, KwaZulu-Natal with 10, the Western Cape with three, and Mpumalanga with one.

There are still no local transmissions in the country, all cases so far involve people who have travelled to South Africa from overseas.

READ MORE |All the confirmed cases of coronavirus in SA

Latest news:

The eight Jewish community schools that closed across Cape Town on Thursday will remain closed, after a parent at one of the schools tested positive for the coronavirus.

Lessons were suspended on Thursday, pending the outcome of the man's Covid-19 test.

The school confirmed the parent's positive result on Friday, saying United Herzlia high school, middle school, three primary schools and three pre-primary schools will now remain closed until after the holidays.

READ MORE | Parent at one of Herzlia's Cape Town schools tests positive

Government has not decided to put any travel restrictions and bans in place, just yet.

This comes as the number of people testing positive for the coronavirus (Covid-19 virus) in South Africa continues to rise. According to Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, various aspects are being looked at before Cabinet can make an informed decision.

Although no decision has been made on travel restrictions – despite other countries, including the US, putting bans in place – the minister said South Africa will, however, issue warnings and guidelines in the meantime.

READ MORE | No travel bans yet, as government looks at economic impact

The KwaZulu-Natal government is deploying water tankers to areas which are water scarce to stamp out the possible spread of the coronavirus.

Provincial MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Sipho Hlomuka, said the department was teaching rural communities about the coronavirus pandemic, and was particularly concerned about those areas with no running water. 

"Water tankers will go to areas, especially rural, to distribute water,” he said, adding that the province was also scheduled to create over 400 boreholes that would assist in supplying water.

"We developed a water master plan to deal with areas that do not have water. We have been in a drought, like most of the country. However, we are working on short-term solutions."

READ MORE | Coronavirus: KZN deploys water tankers to help those without running water

WHAT'S HAPPENING IN THE REST OF THE WORLD

Cases update:

For the latest global data, follow this interactive map from Johns Hopkins University & Medicine.

China remains hardest-hit, but Italy now has more than 15 000 confirmed cases, and more than 1 000 deaths.

READ MORE | Deaths soar in Italy, US ups containment measures

Latest news:

Nine Chinese experts and several tons of medical aid have arrived on a special to flight to Italy to help the country fight Europe's most serious coronavirus outbreak.

China, the epicentre of the outbreak that first emerged in December, has said the peak of the epidemic has passed in the country after a steady decline in the number of new cases.

After battling the deadly epidemic for several months, China has also sent support to Iran and Iraq to help fight the illness.

READ MORE |China sends experts, aid to Italy to help virus fight

All Catholic churches across Rome have been closed to stem the spread of a coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 1 000 people across Italy.

The churches will reopen when a broader Italian government crackdown on public gatherings expires on 3 April, Cardinal Angelo De Donatis, the papal vicar for Rome, said in a statement.

However, Catholic faithful have been exempted from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass. 

READ MORE |Catholic churches across Rome close until next month

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said on Friday he has tested negative for the new coronavirus, after a scare over a trip on which at least one infected member of his staff rubbed shoulders with Donald Trump.

"The Armed Forces Hospital and (diagnostic laboratory) Sabin have returned a negative test result for COVID-19 for the President of the Republic Jair Bolsonaro," said a post on the far-right leader's Facebook page, along with a picture of him flashing an obscene arm gesture at the press.

READ MORE | Brazil's Bolsonaro tests negative after coronavirus scare

LATEST RESEARCH



A popular coronavirus topic at the moment is how the virus affects children. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), only 2.4% of the cases recorded in China are children and only 0.2% of those cases got critically ill – and there have been no child fatalities either.

While children seem to only experience milder cases of the virus, this certainly doesn't mean they are not contracting the virus, or that these cases should be overlooked.

What we do know is that people on the opposite side of the age spectrum fall into the higher risk category.

READ MORE | Yes, kids CAN still get coronavirus, but this is what you should know

HEALTH TIPS (as recommended by the NICD and WHO)

• Avoid contact with people who have respiratory infections 

• Maintain social distancing – stay at least one metre away from somebody who is coughing or sneezing

• Practise frequent hand-washing, especially after direct contact with ill people or their environment

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, as your hands touch many surfaces and could potentially transfer the virus

• Practise respiratory hygiene – cover your mouth with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Remember to dispose the tissue immediately after use.

READ MORE: Coronavirus 101 

Image credit: Getty Images