Reassurance from National Department of Heath on Novel Coronavirus

Based on the recent outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus, the National Department of Health has issued a statement reassuring South Africans that measures are in place to detect, manage and contain any cases of the virus should it come to our shores.

So far, there are no suspected cases reported. Port health professionals routinely conduct temperature screening for all international travellers. However, due to the current risk of importation of inadvertent cases of 2019-nCoV from Wuhan City – China, Port Health authorities have enhanced surveillance of all travellers from Asia, especially China. Fortunately, OR Tambo and Cape Town International Airports are the only Ports of entry with direct flights from Asia. 

South Africa has developed and distributed clinical guidelines and case definitions to doctors and nurses in both the public and the private sectors. These include information on how to diagnose and respond to a possible 2019-nCoV case. 

Provinces have activated outbreak response teams and are on high alert to detect and manage inadvertent cases that may arrive in the country. 

Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death(WHO).

Situation update

The National Department of Health has set up an information page with current information on the Corona Virus Outbreak that can be viewed here.

For more information on 2019-nCoV or other diseases, please visit 

For medical/clinical related queries: Contact the NICD Hotline +27 82 883 9920 (for use by healthcare professionals only).