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What South Africans need to know about coronavirus as it spreads globally

2 March 2020 8:11 AM
Tags:
WHO
Coronavirus
COVID-19
NICD case management lead for COVID-19 Dr Kerrigan McCarthy explains how the illness affects people.

The South African government on Sunday detailed evacuation plans for citizens living in coronavirus-hit Wuhan.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said upon arrival they will be quarantined in an undisclosed location, where family and friends will not be allowed to visit them.

Of the 201 South Africans in Wuhan, 151 want to be repatriated and 16 have opted to stay.

RELATED: 'Extreme concerns' about coronavirus making landfall in Africa

Mkhize, Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi and Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu held a media briefing on plans to return South Africans from the epicentre of the coronavirus within seven to 10 days.

Is South Africa ready for COVID-19?

Bongani Bingwa speaks to National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) case management lead for COVID-19 Dr Kerrigan McCarthy to shed light on the matter.

By World Health Organisation (WHO) own standards, we are looking at a pandemic. The matter of definitions is not helpful to us in terms of how we respond both as individuals and as countries. According to WHO's own definitions, this does meet the criteria for a pandemic.

Dr Kerrigan McCarthy, Case management lead for COVID-19 - NICD

She does warn that people need to be careful of technical terms and colloquial usage of the word as she believes the word pandemic instils fear.

What is clear is that the virus causes a more severe illness than influenza but the extent to which it is more severe is unknown. Persons who are higher risk, include the elderly who have underlying illnesses such as lung conditions or chronic asthma. Our health system is geared to deal with this but the big unknown is we don't know how it will interact with people that have underlying issues like HIV.

Dr Kerrigan McCarthy, Case management lead for COVID-19 - NICD

Listen below to the full conversation:


2 March 2020 8:11 AM
Tags:
WHO
Coronavirus
COVID-19

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