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Infectious Diseases

29 March 2020

Coronavirus morning update: Wuhan repats given the all clear and fake news goes viral

Your latest coronavirus news: An increase in confirmed cases of healthcare workers; fake news voicenote goes viral; and repatriated South Africans from Wuhan all test negative and get ready to leave the Ranch.

WHAT'S HAPPENING IN SA

Cases update: 

The latest number of confirmed cases is 1 187, and the country has recorded 31 recoveries and 1 death.

Over 28 000 tests have been conducted.

Gauteng, the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal have the highest number of confirmed cases.

Other key numbers:

Total number of patients in hospitals (both public and private): 55

Total number of patients in ICU: 4

Total number of patients in ventilation: 3

READ MORE | All the confirmed cases of coronavirus in SA

Latest news: 

A 70-year-old doctor in the Free State is in the intensive care unit after contracting the coronavirus, health minister Zweli Mkhize confirmed on Saturday.

He is one of 12 doctors who have been confirmed to have tested positive for Covid-19.

“It must be emphasised that none of these health workers were infected by patients that they were treating,” Mkhize said.

“They came into contact with their family members, friends and other colleagues who had tested positive for Covid-19. All individuals who were identified as contacts of these health workers have been put in quarantine and are being monitored.”

READ MORE | Free State doctor in ICU after contracting coronavirus as confirmed cases rise to 1 187 

The South Africans repatriated from Wuhan in China are preparing to vacate The Ranch Resort in Limpopo after all testing negative for the coronavirus after being quarantined, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said on Saturday.

National government a fortnight ago repatriated 112 citizens from the Chinese city, where the coronavirus outbreak began, and placed them in quarantine at the resort about 25km outside Polokwane.

“We had assured all South Africans that these citizens were all negative, they did not present any symptoms and therefore did not pose any risk of infection. However, we took extra precautions and quarantined them for a 14-day period,” Mkhize said.

“On arrival medical screening and Covid-19 tests were conducted. They all came out negative. We are very pleased to report to South Africans that these citizens conducted their second test in preparation for their exit. These have all come out negative.”

READ MORE | Repatriated citizens from Wuhan to vacate The Ranch after testing negative for coronavirus

A lengthy WhatsApp voicenote making some outrageous claims about the coronavirus crisis is spreading like wildfire in South Africa.

In an attempt to give the voicenote credibility, an accompanying message claims the voice is that of a Groote Schuur Hospital expert.

But the voicenote was definitely not recorded by the expert, Health24 has established.

The origin of the clip is unknown and the person speaking is yet to be identified.

The accompanying text message claims: "This is a voice note from Diana Hardie the Head of Virology, Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town. It's her latest data on the Corona Virus and what she is preparing for... it's doesn't predict a pretty short term future... (sic)"

READ MORE | FAKE NEWS ALERT | WhatsApp voicenote 'was not from me' - Groote Schuur virologist

A man has been arrested for spreading false reports that there is no coronavirus outbreak in South Africa. 

Cele said on Saturday that the man was in a holding cell on Saturday after posting that there was "nothing called corona here" in South Africa.

Cele warned against spreading false rumours. "We won't spare you, we'll take you," he told eNCA.

READ MORE | Cape Town man arrested for spreading fake news - report

The government has clarified its stance on children moving between parents during the lockdown, saying it is forbidden and that a child must remain with the parent it was with when the lockdown was effected. 

Lindiwe Zulu, the Minister of Social Development, said during an inter-ministerial briefing on Saturday that the new regulations “clearly states” that the movement of children between their “co-holders” is prohibited.

Since the national lockdown was announced, questions have been raised regarding whether a child whose time is shared between parents who live in different houses would be able to move between them during the time. 

Zulu, reading from her department's directive relating to the regulations, said: “This is to ensure that the child is not exposed to any possible infection whilst moving from primary caregiver’s premises to the other” parent’s premises. 

WATCH | Zulu gives clarity on co-parenting: You are not allowed to move your children

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.

Positive cases worldwide are now more than 652 000, while deaths are more than 30 000.

The United States has more than 100 000 confirmed cases of the virus, while Italy, China, Spain and Germany all have more than 50 000.

Italy now has more than triple the number of deaths China has – more than 10 000.

READ MORE | All the confirmed cases worldwide

Latest news:

At least 15 000 people who may have caught the coronavirus from a 'super-spreader' guru are under strict quarantine in northern India after the Sikh religious leader died of Covid-19.

The 70-year-old guru, Baldev Singh, had returned from a trip to Europe's virus epicentre Italy and Germany when he went preaching in more than a dozen villages in Punjab state.

It has sparked one of India's most serious alerts related to the pandemic and special food deliveries are being made to each household under even tighter restrictions than the 21-day nationwide stay-at-home order imposed by the government.

READ MORE | 15 000 quarantined after India religious leader dies of coronavirus 

A dire lack of protective gear for health workers battling the COVID-19 pandemic is one of the most pressing threats in the fight to prevent deaths, the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned on Friday.

"The chronic global shortage of personal protective equipment is now one of the most urgent threats to our collective ability to save lives," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual news conference in Geneva.

He said the WHO had shipped almost two million individual items of personal protective equipment (PPE) to 74 countries and was preparing to send a similar amount to a further 60 countries.

READ MORE | 'Chronic' global shortage of coronavirus protective gear: WHO



The story, referencing a recent study in the US about how the new coronavirus can survive on surfaces and in the air, is being shared widely on social media channels.

It also explains that, according to a World Health Organization (WHO) official, the WHO is considering "airborne precautions" for medical staff, on the back of this study and others being conducted globally

Health24 recently covered the results of the study where the experiments were conducted in controlled environments.

READ MORE | Coronavirus:  Concerns about if, and how it spreads in the air? Here are the facts


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