South Africa has recorded the first case of coronavirus on its soil after a man who recently returned from Italy tested positive.

The news was confirmed by South Africa’s Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize on Thursday. Dr Mkhize revealed that a suspected case of the coronavirus, which has been renamed Covid-19, tested positive after extensive tests by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NCID).

In the statement, the Minister said,

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

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

“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.

“This media briefing is to ensure that the public is immediately kept abreast. A press briefing will be held later after the Parliamentary debate this evening to shed more light on this issue.”

The patient who tested positive had been self-isolating since 2 March.