No patient with coronavirus in North West: Mkhize

Dr Mkhize urges South Africans to make thorough hand washing a habit.
Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has confirmed that the results of a patient who was reportedly tested for suspected COVID-19 infection in the North West came out negative.

The patient is currently quarantined and the medical staff is conducting further tests.

“When the first test was done it created the impression that it was a very unclear diagnosis. But at least we’ve now confirmed it has come out negative,” adds the Minister.

Reports say the patient was admitted at the Klerksdorp-Tshepong Hospital from Joe Morolong Hospital in Vryburg.

Mkhize has emphasised that precautionary measures are in place to ensure a free disease transmission zone at the country’s ports of entry.

Minister Mkhize says despite the latest developments, it is not yet time for the government to interrupt schooling.

On Monday, Grayston Preparatory School, north of Johannesburg, closed for the day following reports that one of the educators had been in contact with a person who has tested positive for the virus.

Mkhize says the Inter-Ministrial Committee handling the COVID-19 outbreak is communicating with the Department of Education.

“We have not issued a call for schools to close. So anywhere where there might be such a call there might be an Adhoc situation happening in a spare of the moment. We will communicate with the department. But this could be where parents are concerned that their children could be infected.”

Responding to reports of the rush to buy hand sanitisers amid concerns about the coronavirus in South Africa, Mkhize has assured the public that regular and thorough hand washing is enough to prevent the spread of the deadly disease.

People are urged to wash their hands regularly for 20 seconds.

More than 107 000 infections have been reported worldwide, with over 3 800 lives lost so far.

The University of Pretoria (UP) says it will continue to look at more precautionary measures to minimise the possible spread of the COVID-19 virus at the institution.

The University has temporarily disabled its biometric access system at all seven campuses and 29 residences.

UP staff and students will now use cards to scan in and out at all entrances.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Tawana Kupe says: “We are also now looking at other measures, that we can take. You can for example in buildings or spaces where people enter – for example, lifts. We’ll have to find a solution for that. So we are looking into the most effective, the most scientific way.”

South Africa has seven confirmed cases of the coronavirus.