South Africa confirms first Coronavirus case


By Duncan Mlanjira

While Malawi’s Ministry of Health and Population says people should not panic on Coronavirus as government is doing everything to ensure the country is spared from the viral infection, South Africa became the third sub-Saharan country to confirm an affected case.

SA health minister Mkhize

South Africa’s announcement that a case of coronavirus has been confirmed in the country makes it the third sub-Saharan country to report the infection after Senegal reported one case while Nigeria has reported four, to date, as reported by Aljazeera.


Sub-Saharan Africa is considered high risk for an outbreak because of its close ties to China and weak health care infrastructure in many countries.

According to a statement from South Africa’s health minister, Dr. Zweli Mkhize, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases confirmed on Thursday morning that a suspected case of COVID-19 has tested positive.

“The patient is a 38-year-old male who travelled to Italy with his wife [and] they were part of a group of 10 people [who] arrived back in South Africa on March 1.

“The patient consulted a private practitioner on March 3, with symptoms of fever, headache, malaise, a sore throat and a cough.

“The practice nurse took swabs and delivered it to the lab [and] the patient has been self-isolating since March 3.”

The Minister further said the Emergency Operating Centre has deployed epidemiologists and clinicians experts to KwaZulu-Natal.

This has now become a global crisis with almost 300 million students worldwide facing weeks at home.

Reports say Italy was the latest country to shut schools as the IMF urged an all-out global offensive against the epidemic.

US Congress has voted for a US$8.3bn
emergency funding package

Meanwhile, the US Congress has voted for a US$8.3bn emergency funding package to fight the coronavirus.

A report on Washington Post says the move comes as the country reported a total of 11 deaths, including one in California, the first outside Washington state. 

More cases have also emerged in New York and Los Angeles with California declaring a state of emergency.

Reports say globally, more than 95,000 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the vast majority in China where the virus originated late last year.

Malango, MoH spokesperson

Last month during a media orientation in Blantyre, Malawi Ministry of Health spokesperson, Joshua Malango has said government was working with various stakeholders to make the country a safer place.

He said the joint operation involves Centre for Disease Control and other ministries to make sure Coronavirus doesn’t reach Malawi and urged the public not to panic as “everything is under control.” Malango said.


A report filed by Malawi News Agency quotes Malango as urging the media to report accurately and responsibly on the same so that the public is fed with reliable information, especially on how the virus is spread.

Malawi has very close links with Chinese nationals who are found at every corner of the urban cities where they do various businesses.