‘Drastic measures’ to stop the coronavirus in South Africa – including a travel ban

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Government is expected to announce a number of drastic measures to curb the spread of coronavirus in South Africa – including the possible introduction of a travel ban, the Sunday Times reports.

Italy, which has reported 17,000 cases and more than 1,200 deaths, and Iran, where the death toll has topped 500, will most likely be the first countries on the ban list.

A total ban of all travellers from Europe is also being considered. However, China may be spared because it has been able to control infections.

Government may also order sports events to be held in empty stadiums and limit mass gatherings to 1,000 people.

The cabinet will further consider a recommendation that South Africans returning from high risk countries be in quarantine for 14 days.

“In view of the rising numbers, president Cyril Ramaphosa called for an urgent Cabinet meeting to be held on Sunday,” Health minister Zweli Mkhize said in a statement on Saturday.

“This meeting will explore ways of intensifying the country’s response to this outbreak,”  he said.

There have been a total of 156,745 cases worldwide with 5,839 deaths as of 07h05 on Sunday (15 March).

African nations from Rwanda to Mauritania have reported their first cases of coronavirus, Bloomberg reported.

To date, only a few dozen cases have been confirmed in Africa. However, infections now appear to be expanding geographically, with many of the new cases being found in people recently arrived from Europe, the epicenter of the outbreak outside of China.

South Africa’s confirmed cases rose almost 60% in one day.

Mauritania, in the northwest of the region, reported its first case of Covid-19 on Friday – an expatriate who traveled from Europe on March 9, according to the Ministry of Health.

In southern Africa, Namibia reported that a couple visiting from Spain tested positive, its first cases. In central Africa, Rwanda’s health ministry confirmed the country’s first infection, a male Indian national who arrived from Mumbai on March 8.

The landlocked country of eSwatini, which shares borders with South Africa and Mozambique, reported its first case of the virus, the SABC reported, citing Health Minister Lizzie Nkosi.

Officials are concerned that the rapid spread of the virus could overwhelm the region’s struggling health-care system,bloomberg reported.

“There’s little money for ventilators and other life-support equipment needed for severe cases of Covid-19, and any sustained fight against the coronavirus would steer resources away from malaria and HIV, which kill hundreds of thousands every year.”

Apart from the new countries, other nations have shown an uptick in cases and are considering stepping up control measures.

South Africa said its number of confirmed Covid-19 cases has risen to 38 from 24 the previous day.

In addition, a group of more than 100 nationals arrived in the country by jet from Wuhan, where the outbreak was first reported in December. They are being quarantined at a resort with army protection.

Cameroon announced its third case, Bloomberg noted.

South Africa’s government has provided a breakdown of Covid-19 cases per province:

Gauteng: 17 cases

  • A 30 year old female who had travelled to Italy;
  • A 33 year old female who had travelled to Italy;
  • A 34-year old male who had travelled to Germany;
  • A 33 year old female who had travelled to Germany;
  • A 57 year old male who had travelled to Austria and Italy;
  • A 43 year old male who had travelled to New York via Dubai
  • A 39 year old female who had travelled to Switzerland and Austria;
  • A 50 year old male who had travelled to Austria;
  • A 21 year old female who had travelled to Italy;
  • A 57 year old male who had travelled to Switzerland;
  • A 76 year-old male who had travelled to the UK and the US.
  • A 72 year-old female who had travelled to the UK and the US.
  • A 47 year-old male who had travelled to the UK and the US.
  • A 52 year-old male who had travelled to Germany.
  • A 38 year-old male who had travelled to the Netherlands and Germany.
  • A 62 year-old male who had travelled to the Netherlands.
  • A 19 year-old female who had travelled to France and Italy.

Western Cape: 9 cases

  • A 36 year old male who had travelled to multiple countries including Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Turkey.
  • A 50 year old male who had travelled to Switzerland and Austria;
  • A 46 year old male who had travelled to Italy.
  • A 27 year-old male who had travelled to Brazil.
  • A 33 year-old female who had travelled to France.
  • A 49 year-old male who had travelled to France and Italy.
  • A 14 year-old who had travelled to the US and Dubai.
  • A 73 year-old who had travelled to the UK.
  • A 32 year-old who had travelled to the UK.

KwaZulu-Natal: 11 cases

  • A 38 year old male who had travelled to Italy;
  • A 38 year old female who had travelled to Italy;
  • A 38 year old female who had travelled to Italy;
  • A 38 year old male who had travelled to Italy;
  • A 45 year old male who had travelled to Italy;
  • A 38 year old male who had travelled to Italy;
  • A 38 year old male who lives in Turkey and was visiting his family in South Africa;
  • A 40 year old male who had travelled to Portugal;
  • A 79 year old male who had travelled to Greece and Italy;
  • A 52 year old male who had travelled to Switzerland;
  • A 47 year-old who had travelled to Switzerland.

Mpumalanga: 1 case

  • A 27 year old female who had travelled to the United States.

SOURCE: BUSINESSTECH