On 31 December 2019, The World Health Organization (WHO) reported a cluster of pneumonia cases in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. On 11 March 2020, the WHO declared the outbreak a pandemic.

Mogol Post visited Dr Mariëtte Emslie, Hospital Manager at Mediclinic Lephalale, on Monday 16 March to get a better idea what to watch out for and how to keep your family safe.

According to Dr Emslie, the most important precaution is to avoid groups of people as far as possible and to stay at home if you can.

The virus spreads through droplets and personal contact. See that you don’t get closer than at least two meters from people.

Hand hygiene is extremely important. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with running water and soap or rub with alcohol spray. Try not to touch surfaces in public places and refrain from touching your face.

If you experience one of the symptoms below and you have travelled to a high-risk country recently and/or have been in contact with an infected person, it is advisable to contact your doctor. Your doctor will arrange with a laboratory for you to get tested, you will not be tested without your doctor’s recommendation.

The clinical criteria are as follows:
Do you have a cough?
Do you have shortness of breath?
Do you have a high fever?
Do you have a sore throat?
You can also visit Mediclinic’s website at to complete and submit a questionnaire or you can call the Mediclinic COVID-19 Hotline on 0860 24 00 24. You will then be advised whether to get tested or not.
Dr Emslie also requested the community not to go to the doctor’s waiting rooms when you suspect you have the virus, but rather call your doctor that the two of you can arrange where to meet and what precautions to take and where to go to get tested.
If your symptoms are mild, the doctor will probably advise you to stay at home, to treat your symptoms, to get plenty of rest and to stay hydrated. The recommended time to stay self-isolated is 14 days.

The results of the test take anything from 24 hours to 48 hours.

Mediclinic has standardised processes in place, which have been enhanced in the pandemic, to deal with the developing local and international COVID-19 circumstance.

Please take note that the visiting hours at Mediclinic have changed to 15:00-16:00 and again from 19:00-20:00. Only one visitor per patient at a time will be allowed to protect the patients. All visitors should use the alcohol sanitiser at the doors and halls.

If you feel sick in any way, please avoid visiting patients.

There is currently no vaccine available to prevent the infection.

At the time of going to print 85 people tested positive for the COVID-10 or coronavirus in South Africa according to the National Institute of Communicable Diseases. Eight of these cases did not travel to any other country recently.

45 cases were reported in Gauteng, 21 in the Western Province, 16 in KZN, 2 in Mpumalanga and one in Limpopo. No positive cases were reported in the Free State and the Eastern and Northern Cape.

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