South Africa recorded its first case of local transmission of the coronavirus, the country’s Ministry of Health said on Thursday.
The case involves a 32-year-old man in the Free State who contracted the virus after coming into contact with a Chinese businessman.
The latest confirmation brings the total number of confirmed cases of the COVID-19 in South Africa to 17.
“According to the Department of Health, a 32-year-old male came into contact with a Chinese businessman, making it the first case of local transmission, as all other cases have been by patients who had traveled abroad,” a statement on the government news agency website said.
On Wednesday, South African Health minister Zweli Mkhize reported six new positive cases of the coronavirus. Four of the cases were in Gauteng Province, one in KwaZulu-Natal and another one was in the Western Cape.
South Africa had earlier recorded seven cases of the coronavirus out of a group of 10 people who had traveled to Italy. A 38-year-old man tested positive first for the virus followed by his wife and then a third person who had direct contact with the man.
Mkhize on Tuesday announced that four more people from that group had tested positive for the virus. He added that the results of the other group members were yet to be released.
A special Cabinet meeting on Coronavirus will be convened on March 15 in Tshwane.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Wednesday upgraded the status of the COVID-19 outbreak from epidemic to pandemic.