Durban – The SA Health Department is on high alert after a patient who travelled from India to South Africa tested positive for Covid-19.
Senior clinical adviser and head of Infection Control at Netcare, Dr Caroline Maslo, confirmed a patient who recently arrived in South Africa from India was treated in isolation at an undisclosed hospital.
“We remain vigilant in maintaining strict safety precautions in our facilities and apply an abundance of caution in treating all patients,” Maslo said.
She said Covid-19 case numbers are extremely low in their hospitals.
Dr Michelle Groome, head of the Division of Public Health Surveillance and Response at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) said testing of Covid-positive samples from travellers entering South Africa from India and their close contacts would be prioritised. Groome added that this would enable the NICD to detect the B.1.617 and any other variants in a timely manner.
NICD’s acting executive director, Professor Adrian Puren, said to date the variant had not been detected in South Africa and any suspected cases would be investigated.
“The institution has tremendous empathy for the dire situation that is unfolding in India and would like to reassure the South African public that we are keeping a close eye on developments,” he said.
The mutation of viruses is a natural occurrence in the lifecycle of any virus, evident with the detection of the Sars-CoV-2 501Y.V2 lineage in South Africa in October 2020. Although viral mutations are unavoidable, adherence to non-pharmaceutical interventions have proven to greatly lessen transmission of the disease.