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Novel Coronavirus

No need to panic says SA Department of Health

The South African Department of Health has issued a statement advising there is no need for panic in respect of the outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus.

The statement reassured South Africans that measures are in place to detect, manage and contain any cases of Novel Coronavirus should it come to South African shores.

To date, there have been no suspected cases reported. Port health professionals routinely conduct temperature screening for all international travellers. However, due to the current risk of importation of inadvertent cases of 2019-nCoV from Wuhan City – China, Port Health authorities have enhanced surveillance of all travellers from Asia, especially China.

Fortunately, OR Tambo and Cape Town International Airports are the only Ports of entry with direct flights from Asia. South Africa has developed and distributed clinical guidelines and case definitions to doctors and nurses in both the public and the private sectors.

These include information on how to diagnosis and respond to a possible 2019-nCoV case. Provinces have activated outbreak response teams and are on high alert to detect and manage inadvertent cases that may arrive in the country. There have been no restrictions imposed on travel to China based on information currently available. In addition, the World Health Organization (WHO) does not recommend any restriction of travel or trade. However, the department advises travellers to Wuhan (China) should avoid contact with animals and are encouraged to practice good hand hygiene and cough etiquette in order to reduce the risk of infection with respiratory viruses.

The following are emphasised:

‒ Avoid close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections.

‒ Practice frequent hand-washing, especially after direct contact with ill people or their environment. ‒ Avoid visiting markets where live animals are sold.

‒ Travellers with symptoms of acute respiratory infection should practice cough etiquette (maintain distance, cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing and wash hands).

‒ Health practitioners should provide travellers with information to reduce the general risk of acute respiratory infections, via travel health clinics, travel agencies, conveyance operators and at points of entry.

Travellers should also be encouraged to self-report if they feel ill. National Department of Health Media Statement – Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), No cause for panic Page 2 of 3 In case of symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness before, during or after travel, the traveller must seek medical attention and share travel history with their healthcare provider.

As per ASATA News 30/01/2020

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