First case of COVID-19 confirmed in the Western Cape

11 March 2020

As per protocol, this morning, the National Minister of Health, Zweli Mkhize, announced that   there has been the first laboratory confirmed case of COVID-19, commonly referred to as the Coronavirus, in the Western Cape. 

This follows official confirmation of a positive test from the National Institute of Communicable Diseases, dated 11 March 2020. 

The patient is a 36-year-old male in the City of Cape Town. He presented himself to a private healthcare facility with flu-like symptoms and a recent travel history to Europe. 

As per set procedures, medical professionals ensured that the person was kept in isolation for the last 48 hours (since 9 March 2020) until the laboratory tests could be confirmed. 

Our Outbreak Response team has been activated with health authorities (including the City of Cape Town), in association with NICD, and the team is following up all the known contacts of this patient.

Contacts, including those on the flight, will be followed up and monitored for the next two weeks, as per the World Health Organisation guidelines. The travel history and movements of the person will be traced in order to ensure containment.

Earlier this week, I activated the Joint Operations Centre (JOC) to ensure our preparedness to respond to the Coronavirus and 7 work-streams have been established to ensure a coordinated response. I have convened a Special Cabinet on Friday where we will receive a report back on their work.

Every resident of the Western Cape has a role to play in limiting the spread of the Coronavirus.

Firstly, it is important that we stay calm and follow the direction of the NICD, regarding testing and, if necessary, isolation. They are following international best-practise and have you, and your fellow residents, best interest at heart.

Secondly, if you have flu-like symptom and have travelled internationally or have been in contact with someone who has travelled internationally, you should call the dedicated Coronavrius Hotline, operated by the NICD, on 0800 029 999. 

Thirdly, we can help protect ourselves and our families, by practising good hygiene, such as washing your hands regularly and thoroughly and coughing or sneezing into a tissue or the corner of your arm. More information on basic good hygiene practises can be found on our dedicated webpage: www.westerncape.gov.za/coronavirus.

Lastly, please don’t spreads fake news. We really need to verify all information first. Spreading panic will only make responding more difficult. 

It is important to highlight that in the majority cases the virus presents mildly and there is a significantly high recovery rate.  

It is important that we go on with our daily lives while follow these basic steps.  I promise you that I will keep you updated on all developments. 

The following official channels contain important information and can be contacted:

ENDS