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THE NOVEL CORONAVIRUS DISEASE: Referred to as COVID-2019

THE ORIGIN
It is speculated that the novel coronavirus originated from a Seafood Wholesale Market – that also sold live wild animals – in Wuhan City, China. 

  • The current strain is a zoonotic virus, meaning it can be transmitted from animals to humans.
  • The virus is also contagious between people.

THE INCUBATION PERIOD
Symptoms of COVID-2019 may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
Reported illnesses have ranged from people with little to no symptoms, to people being severely ill.
Symptoms may include:

  • Fever
  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath

 These may progress to:

  • Severe respiratory illness 
  • Multiple organ failure

People with underlying medical conditions may experience worse symptoms and even death.

THE LATEST STATS – 5 March 13h21
The virus has affected 87 countries/areas around the world.
96 743 cases have been reported with the majority in China.

PREVENTION
Avoid close contact with people who are sick or show symptoms of the virus.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based sanitizer (60-85% alcohol).
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay at home when you are sick – consider work from home?
  • Practice cough etiquette, covering your cough or sneeze.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

PLEASE NOTE: 

  • Surgical masks may be used as an infection control measure or a mitigation measure when worn by individuals with respiratory symptoms.
  • Facemasks are not guaranteed to protect users from airborne infection.
  • No travel restrictions with China have been recommended by the World Health Organisation, but we advise our members to avoid non-essential travel to China.

The National Department of Health issued guidelines for medical practitioners on treatment and referral of suspected cases
3308 deaths have been reported.
There have been 53959 complete recoveries.
First case reported by Department of Health – The patient is a 38-year-old male who travelled to Italy with his wife. The patient consulted a private general practitioner on 3 March with symptoms of fever, headache, malaise, a sore throat and a cough.”

The practice nurse then took swabs and delivered it to the laboratory. The patient has been self-isolating since 3 March. The couple also has two children. The Emergency Operating Centre (EOC) has identified the contacts by interviewing the patient and doctor. The tracer team has been deployed to KwaZulu-Natal with epidemiologists and clinicians from the NICD.”

Mkhize said the doctor has been self-isolated as well.”

PREPAREDNESS
Employers should be monitoring the situation and urge employees to keep on taking the necessary precautions to minimise their risk of contracting the disease.

The DOH identified and have established hospital preparedness with certain hospitals as well as engagement with the big hospital groups having a detailed plan or checklist on how to deal with the risks and with suspected cases. 

A few smaller hospitals which do not have isolation or quarantine wards have implemented plans to safely transfer suspected cases to facilities which can cope with these patients.

The National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) are busy hosting training on laboratory diagnostics in 17 member states in the Africa region.

Awareness of the General Practitioner Association to establish their preparedness and made them aware of the NICD hotline to report possible cases.

SEIFSA is a National Federation representing 21 independent employer Associations in the metals and engineering industries, with a combined membership of 1600 companies employing around 200 000 employees. The Federation was formed in 1943 and its member companies range from giant steel-making corporations to micro-enterprises employing fewer than 50 people