If you develop a fever1 and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or shortness of breath, within 14 days after travel from China, you should call ahead to a healthcare professional and mention your recent travel or close contact.
Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread most often by respiratory droplets that are spread through sneezing and coughing.
However, the virus has been found from stool for the first time from a patient who only presented with diarrhoea and no other symptoms. This has raised the possibility of feaco-oral transmission (the virus being transmitted through human stool). The best way to prevent any infection that can be transmitted through stool is regular handwashing particularly for breast or bottle feeding mothers.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people and others that circulate among animals, including camels, cats and bats. Analysis of the genetic tree of this virus is ongoing to know the specific source of the virus.
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), another coronavirus that emerged and infected people, came from civet cats, while Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), another coronavirus also infected people, came from camels.
Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, and cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death (WHO).
A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), is not that same as the coronavirus that commonly circulates among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold.
The 2019 Novel Coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV, is a new respiratory virus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.
- Limiting contact among groups of people
- Covering the nose and mouth with a tissue or elbow when coughing or sneezing
- By wearing a medical mask if you suspect that you may have the virus or if you have been diagnosed as having the virus
- By washing your hands thoroughly with alcohol-based hand rub (ABHR) or with soap and water
- By practicing high standards of hygiene, especially when preparing food.
- Not eating undercooked or raw meat
- Educating yourself and your family about the early signs of symptoms and basic precautions to be used
By not having close contact with a person confirmed to have, or being evaluated for, 2019-nCoV infection.
South African Government Stance
At this stage 62 people have been reported to have the virus in South Africa.
The President of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa has declared Corona Virus as a National Disaster.
As a result, several measures have been put in place and they include the following:
- Travel bans has been imposed on the following countries: – Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Germany, the US, the UK and China.
- South African citizens are advised to refrain from all forms of travel to or through the EU, US, UK and other identified high-risk countries such as China, Iran and South Korea. This is effective immediately.
- SA has 72 ports of entry in the country, which are land, sea- and airports. Of the 53 land ports, 35 will be shut down with effect from Monday March 16. Two of the eight seaports will be closed for passengers and crew changes.
- Gatherings of more than 100 people will not be prohibited.
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The Department of Health has identified and designated specific hospitals in all provinces for the treatment of the virus should the cases be reported. They are:
|Province||Name of Hospital|
|Western Cape||– Tygerberg Hospital|
|Gauteng||– Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital|
– Steve Biko Academic Hospital
– Tembisa Hospital
|KwaZulu-Natal||– Grey’s Hospital (Pietermaritzburg)|
|Limpopo||– Polokwane Hospital|
|Mpumalanga||– Rob Ferreira in Mbombela (Nelspruit)|
|Free State||– Pelonomi Academic Hospital (Bloemfontein)|
|North West||– Klerksdorp Hospital|
|Northern Cape||– Kimberley Hospital|
|Eastern Cape||– Livingstone Hospital (Nelson Mandela Bay)|
If you were in high risk countries and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, within 14 days after you left, you should:
- Seek medical care right away. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
- Avoid contact with others.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to avoid spreading the virus to others. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, if soap and water are not available.
- Not travel while sick
Travel bans has been imposed on the following countries: – Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Germany, the US, the UK and China.
South African citizens are advised to refrain from all forms of travel to or through the EU, US, UK and other identified high-risk countries such as China, Iran and South Korea. This is effective immediately.
Through our Managed Care partner we are engaging with providers and each of the hospital groups to establish their state of readiness as well as processes and reporting in place in the event of identifying any 2019-nCoV infection cases.
SAMWUMED members are covered for investigation and treatment related to the Coronavirus.
We will continue to monitor the situation around 2019-nCoV and will share any pertinent information that may affect our members’ health.