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.

Global Perspective

In international news, the United States has decided to suspend all travel from Europe to the US for the next 30 days. US President Donald Trump made the announcement on Wednesday evening.

World Health Organisation declared the outbreak a Pandemic as the number of cases of COVID-19 outside China increased 13-fold in the past two weeks.

There are now more than 118 000 cases in 114 countries and 4 291 people have lost their lives.

Itay announced a national lockdown on Monday as cases surged in the country.

Of the 118 000 cases reported globally in 114 countries, more than 90% of cases are in just four countries, and two of those are China and the Republic of Korea.

“After consulting with our top government health professionals, I have decided to take several strong but necessary actions to protect the health and well-being of all Americans.

“To keep new cases from entering our shores we will be suspending all travel from Europe to the United States for the next 30 days. The new rules will go into effect on Friday at midnight,” said Trump.

The suspension, the US President described, is the most aggressive and comprehensive effort to confront a foreign virus in modern history.

“I am confident that by counting and continuing to take these tough measures we will significantly reduce the threat to our citizens and ultimately and expeditiously defeat this virus,” he said.

Americans who have undergone appropriate screenings, will be exempt from the suspension.

During the early stages of the outbreak, the US banned travel to China and other hotspots.

“These restrictions will not apply to the United Kingdom. At the same time we are monitoring the situation in China and the South Korea and as their situations improve we will re-evaluate the restrictions and warnings that are currently in place for a possible early opening,” said the US President.

While the restriction stops people, Trump emphasised that it does not stop goods.

He further assured all countries and businesses to know that trade will in no way be affected by the 30-day restriction on travel from Europe.