JOHANNESBURG, The department of health in South Africa on Wednesday announced that it has prepared three facilities to receive potential coronavirus cases, as the country remained on high alert for the virus which has claimed the lives of 106 people in China.

Charlotte Maxeke, Steve Biko, and Tembisa hospitals in Gauteng were chosen to accommodate patients with coronavirus.

Symptoms of novel coronavirus — which reportedly emerged at a seafood market in the Chinese city of Wuhan — include a fever and cough with a few patients presenting a difficulty in breathing and bilateral infiltrates on chest X-rays.

Briefing the media on the country’s preparedness to detect, manage and contain any threat of the coronavirus from entering the country, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said the country stands ready should there be an outbreak.

We wish to assure the public that South Africa is adequately prepared for active surveillance, early detection, isolation, case management, contact tracing and prevention of the onward spread of coronavirus, Mkhize said on Wednesday.

Mkhize said, to date South Africa has no reported or suspected cases of coronavirus.

As a department, it is standard procedure to monitor emergent outbreaks and we are currently tracking a plethora of pathogens that include those viruses of pandemic potential like H5-N1 and we therefore wish to reassure that coronavirus is no exception, said Mkhize.

Provinces have activated outbreak response teams while the screening of returning travellers from China have been intensified.

Source: African News Agency