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SA confirms first local transmission of COVID-19

South Africa has confirmed its first local transmission of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the Free State.

According to the Department of Health, a 32-year-old male came into contact with a Chinese businessman, making it the first case of local transmission, as all other cases have been by patients who had travelled abroad. 

The department on Thursday confirmed 17 cases of COVID-19, this is an additional four cases from Wednesday.

Other three confirmed cases are from KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and Gauteng.


A 38-year-male from Durban who lives in Turkey and was visiting his family in South Africa has tested positive. He had travelled to the UK and returned to SA on 7 March 2020. 


A 27-year-old female from Mpumalanga who had travelled to the United States has tested positive. She returned to South Africa on 7 March 2020.


A 43-year-old male from Johannesburg who had travelled to New York via Dubai and returned to South Africa on 8 March 2020, has tested positive.

The department said at this stage, all patients are in self quarantine and have mild to moderate symptoms. They are also on symptomatic treatment. 

“Our tracing teams are now making a list and have started contacting individuals that have been identified as these patients contacts,” the department said in a statement.

Tips to follow to avoid being infected by the Coronavirus

1.  Wash your hands

Wash your hands with soap thoroughly. Wash the back of your hands, between the fingers and under the nails. Always wash your hands with soap before you eat and after being out in public.

2.  Good personal hygiene

Cover your mouth with a tissue paper when you coughing and sneezing. Avoid touching your face with dirty hands at all times. If you have to, be sure to wash your hands with soap thoroughly first.

3.  Do not share food and utensils

Bacteria can be transmitted onto knives, forks, spoons and straws. Only use clean utensils and do not share drinks. Always clean your hands before eating.

4.  See a doctor if you are unwell

Typical symptoms include coughing, runny nose, fever and shortness of breath. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, seek medical attention promptly.

For more information call the National Institute of Communicable Diseases’ 24-hour hotline on 0800 029 999 or log on to www.health.gov.za and www.nicd.ac.za