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What is Coronavirus COVID19 South Africa?
Human coronaviruses are common throughout the world. The name corona refers to a crown because these viruses have crown-like spikes on their surface when viewed under an electron microscope. There are many different coronaviruses identified in animals but only a small number of these can cause disease in humans. Some coronaviruses such as 229E, NL63, OC43 and HKU1 are common causes of illness, including respiratory illness, in humans throughout the world. Sometimes coronaviruses infecting animals can evolve to cause disease in humans and become a new (novel) coronavirus for humans. Examples of this are the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV), first reported from Saudi Arabia in 2012, and the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS-CoV), first recognized in China in 2002. On 7 January 2020, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was confirmed as the causative agent of coronavirus disease 2019. The majority of the case-patients initially identified were dealers and vendors at a seafood, poultry and live wildlife market (Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market) in Jianghan District of Hubei Province. This suggests that the novel coronavirus has a possible zoonotic origin. However, there has been ongoing sustained transmission of COVID19 in countries to date. The specific source of the virus is not yet known.
Who is most at risk for Covid19 South Africa?
Currently travellers to areas where there is ongoing sustained transmission of Coronavirus COVID19 including Mainland China (all provinces), Hong Kong, Japan, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Vietnam, Taiwan, Italy and the Islamic Republic of Iran are at greatest risk of infection with Coronavirus COVID19. Furthermore, the elderly, individuals with co-morbidities and healthcare workers have been found to be at a higher risk of morbidity and mortality associated with the SARS-CoV-2. Please consult the latest guidance for information on which countries are experiencing outbreaks of Coronavirus COVID19. Information can be accessed at https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/situation- reports.
What is the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection in humans?
Active surveillance is in place to identify an imported case should one occur. People who develop symptoms of respiratory illness including cough, fever and shortness of breath within 14 days of travel to countries where there is ongoing sustained transmission of COVID19 should seek medical care early and share information about travel history with their doctors.
How is COVID19 transmitted?
While the first cases probably involved exposure to an animal source, the virus now seems to be spreading from person-to-person. It is thought to happen mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza and other respiratory pathogens spread. Thus far the majority of cases have occurred in people with close physical contact to cases and healthcare workers caring for patients with COVID19.
What are the signs and symptoms of SARS-CoV-2 infection in humans?
Current symptoms reported for patients with COVID19 have included mild to severe respiratory illness with cough, sore throat, shortness of breath or fever [≥ 38°C (measured) or history of fever (subjective). The complete clinical picture with regard to COVID19 is still not fully clear. Reported illnesses have ranged from infected people with little to no symptoms to people being severely ill and dying.
How is COVID19 diagnosed?
COVID19 is diagnosed by a laboratory test, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) molecular test, on a respiratory tract sample (e.g. sample from nose, throat or chest). For specific guidance on sample collection and transport please visit the NICD’s website: http://www.nicd.ac.za/diseases-a-z-index/covid-19/ – COVID19 South Africa
How is COVID19 infection treated?
Treatment is supportive (e.g. provide oxygen for patients with shortness of breath or treatment for fever). There is no specific antiviral treatment available. Antibiotics do not treat viral infections. However, antibiotics may be required if a bacterial secondary infection develops.
How can COVID19 infections in humans be prevented?
Currently, there is no vaccine for COVID19. Officials in China have intensified efforts to contain the spread of the virus. There are no specific measures currently recommended to prevent COVID19 but the following can provide protection against infection with coronaviruses and many other viruses that are more common in South Africa:
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay at home when you are sick and try and keep distance from others at home.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a flexed elbow or a tissue, then throw the tissue in the bin.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Avoid contact with farm or wild animals (alive or dead), animal markets, and products that come from animals (such as uncooked meat).
What measures have been put in place for COVID19 South Africa to minimise the risk of transmission should cases be imported?
Fever screening is in place at international airports. If there is a suspected case, procedures are in place for case isolation and management as well as rapid specimen collection and transport so that the diagnosis can quickly be made. Suspected cases will be managed at designated hospitals with isolation facilities. Protocols are in place for follow up of case contacts to ensure that the virus does not spread.
Should I travel to China now?
It has been recommended that travellers should avoid all nonessential travel to areas with ongoing sustained transmission of COVID19 including Mainland China (all provinces), Hong Kong, Japan, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Vietnam, Taiwan, Italy and the Islamic Republic of Iran. People who travel to China or areas ongoing sustained transmission of COVID19 should avoid visiting the animal markets (avoid contact with farm or wild animals), products that come from animals (such as uncooked meat) and avoid contact with sick people.
Who can I contact for more information on COVID19 South Africa?
The NICD offers a range of training opportunities and with partnerships from various institutions and universities across South Africa and abroad. Click on Training to learn more about the training opportunities offered.Visit the NICD website at www.nicd.ac.za for further information. For medical/clinical related queries by health care professionals only, contact the NICD Hotline +27 (0) 82 883 9920 (for use by healthcare professionals only). For laboratory related queries call the Centre for Respiratory Diseases and Meningitis (011-555- 0315/7/8 or 011-555-0488).
To stop the spread of Coronavirus Covid19 South Africa, the National Government have announced a lockdown across South Africa which will begin at midnight on Thursday 26 March, and will continue for 21 days until midnight on Thursday, 16 April. Please stay at home during this time.
What is a lockdown?
A lockdown is an emergency protocol that requires all South Africans to stay at home unless:
- You are performing an essential service
- You are getting an essential good or receiving an essential service
- You are collecting a social grant
- You are seeking emergency, life-saving or chronic medical attention
Note that you may be subjected to screening for COVID19 in South Africa by an enforcement officer while you are not at home.
- Grocery stores, pharmacies, banks and other essential services will remain open
- Retail shops and shopping malls must be closed, except where essential goods are sold on condition that the person in control must ensure safe distancing and hygiene conditions
- Only essential goods may be sold in retail stores;
All South African borders are closed during the period of lockdown, except for the transportation of essential goods and fuel.
How long will the COVID19 South Africa Lockdown be in place for?
The full national COVID-19 South Africa lockdown will begin at midnight on Thursday 26 March, and will continue for 21 days until midnight on Thursday, 16 April (Extended till 30 April 2020). Lockdown Level 4 from 1 May 2020
What is the purpose of the COVID19 South Africa lockdown?
The nation-wide lockdown is necessary to fundamentally stop the spread of the Coronavirus COVID19 South Africa, but disrupting the chain of transmission. It will stop the spread of the COVID19 and save South Africans lives.
What will I be able to do under COVID19 South Africa Lockdown?
During the COVID19 South Africa lockdown you will be able to:
- Seek medical care
- Buy essential goods
- Visit the pharmacy
- Access banking and other essential services
- Get petrol
- Collect a social grant
You will also be able to attend a funeral, but there can be no more than 50 people at the funeral, no vigil must be held and all safety and hygiene measures must be followed to top the spread of COVID19 South Africa. Read more on how to obtain permission
The amendments allow certain individuals to move between provinces and, metropolitan and district areas for purposes of transporting a body for burial purposes.
The amendment also limits the individuals who are permitted to travel to funerals. The regulation now outlines a process for persons who wish to travel between provinces, or between metropolitan and district areas to attend a burial or cremation to obtain a permit.
It further determines that only the following persons, who live outside a province or metropolitan and district areas, may attend a funeral:
(i) spouse or partner of the deceased;
(ii) children of the deceased, whether biological, adopted or stepchildren.
(iii) children-in-law of the deceased;
(iv) parents of the deceased whether biological, adopted or stepparents;
(v) siblings, whether biological, adopted or stepbrother or sister of the deceased;
(vi) grandparents of the deceased; and
(vii) persons closely affiliated to the deceased.
The current prohibition of 50 persons attending a funeral is still in operation. The holding of night vigils is still prohibited.
The permit may be obtained from:
- A Magistrate who is the head of office or
- A station commander of a police station or a person designated by him or her
In order to obtain a permit:
A Magistrate who is the head of office or a station commander of a police station or a person designated by him or her must be provided with a death certificate or a certified copy of a death certificate;
It is important to note that:
A permit holder may stay at a hotel, lodge or guest house for the duration of the funeral or cremation. The permit must be presented to the owner or manager of the hotel, lodge or guest house.
Source : SA Government FAQ
What can’t I do under the COVID19 South Africa Lockdown?
During the COVID19 Lockdown you will NOT be able to:
- Travel between the provinces
- Travel between the City of Cape Town metropolitan area and other areas of the Western Cape
- Leave South Africa
What will happen if I don’t obey the COVID19 South Africa Lockdown regulations?
Anyone who contravenes the COVID19 lockdown regulations by not adhering to the restrictions on movement and closures will be guilty of an offence and on conviction, liable to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or to both such fine and imprisonment.
What must I do if I am stopped or arrested by enforcement officers when I have left my home during the COVID19 South Africa Lockdown?
If you are stopped, supply your reason for leaving home which should be accepted if in line with the permissible reasons to leave home.
Your employer must provide you with a permit, in writing, in the prescribed form, in order to leave your residence to perform an essential service. This permit must be shown to the enforcement officer when you are stopped after leaving home to perform an essential service.
If arrested, you should be afforded all the normal rights. A State of Disaster should by definition be implemented in a manner consistent with the Bill of Rights.
What are the goods that will be available during the COVID19 South Africa Lockdown?
The goods that will be available for you to buy during the COVID19 lockdown include the following:
- Any food product, including non-aloholic beverages
- Animal food
- Chemicals, packaging and ancillary products used in the production of any food product
Cleaning and Hygiene Products
- Toilet paper, sanitary pads, sanitary tampons, condoms
- Hand sanitiser, disinfectants, soap, alcohol, household cleaning products and personal proactive equipment
- Chemicals, packaging and ancillary products used in the production of any of the above
- Medical and hospital supplies, equipment and personal protective equipment
- Chemicals, packaging and ancillary products used in the production of any of the above
Fuel, including coal and gas
Basic goods, including airtime and electricity
What if I have an emergency?
Emergency services including doctors, clinics, hospitals and pharmacies will continue to operate as usual.
Who will be able to work during COVID19 South Africa Lockdown?
All those whose job is an essential service will remain at work. A list of essential services will be published, including pharmacies, banks, supermarkets, petrol stations and healthcare providers. Companies that are essential to the production and transportation of food, basic goods and medical supplies will remain open.
Should I stock up now?
Grocery stores and banking services will remain open throughout the lockdown period.
Can I still use public transport during COVID19 South Africa Lockdown?
You can’t use public transport unless it is for the purpose of performing an essential service, getting essential goods, seeking medical attention or funeral services and collecting social grants.
Only bus services, taxi services, e-hailing services and private motor vehicles may be used to travel for these purposes during the COVID19 South Africa lockdown.
If you are providing an essential service and unable to travel to your work, your employer must make the necessary transport arrangements for you to get to work.
When using these modes of transport the vehicle you’re travelling in must carry no more passengers than 50 of its licensed capacity, and all safety and hygiene measures must be followed to stop the spread of COVID19 in South Africa.
If you are feeling any flu-like symptoms related to COVID19, such as a fever or coughing, then it is better to stay at home. This is not only for yourself, but also to avoid infecting other commuters.
Will any public facilities be open?
The following public places and premises will be closed during the COVID19 South Africa lockdown:
- Those where religious, cultural, sporting, entertainment, recreational, exhibitional, organisational activities take place
- Those where goods other than essential goods are procured, acquired, disposed of or sold
- Public parks, beaches or swimming pools
- Flea markets
- Open air food markets
- Fêtes and bazaars
- Night clubs
- Hotels, lodges and guest houses, except if they are being used for foreign tourists who are confined to hotels, lodges and guest houses
- Private and public game reserves and holiday resorts except if they are being used for foreign tourists who are confined to hotels, lodges and guest houses
- On-consumption premises, including taverns, shebeens, shisanyama where liquor is sold
- Off-consumption premises, including bottle stores, where liquor is sold
- Off-consumption areas in supermarkets where liquor is sold
- Theatres and cinemas
- Shopping malls and centres excluding grocery stores and pharmecies
- Taxi ranks, bus depots, trains stations and airports
Can I leave my home to walk my dog, or do any exercises, such as jogging or cycling during COVID19 South Africa Lockdown?
No you can’t leave your home to walk your dog or do exercises, such as jogging or cycling.
Will the Post Office be open during the COVID19 South Africa Lockdown?
Postal services and courier services will only be available for the transport of medical products.
I am a foreign tourist – what must I do during the COVID19 South Africa Lockdown?
All foreign tourists who arrived in South Africa before, or after, the COVID19 South Africa Lockdown, and who remain in South Africa, must stay in their place of temporary residence in South Africa for the duration of the COVID19 South Africa Lockdown or 14 days, as the case may be.
On arrival in South Africa you may be subject to screening for COVID19 and be quarantined or isolated.
What happens after the 3-week Lockdown?
At this stage, we don’t know. National government will continue to monitor the situation and the rate of COVID19 infections to determine the best course of action to stop the spread of COVID19 South Africa.
More information about the COVID19 South Africa Lockdown will be communicated as the situation develops.
For more information on COVID19 South Africa, visit the official Government Coronavirus COVID19 South Africa Website
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