Coronavirus: Testing for COVID-19 in SA

Coronavirus: Testing for COVID-19 in SA

South Africa yesterday, confirmed three more COVID-19 cases - taking the number of infected people to 16.


The health department says anyone who tests positive will be put in isolation at one of the hospitals designated to respond to the outbreak and will remain there until tests come negative.

The National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) will then trace people who have been in close contact with the confirmed case. 

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Anyone who could have met with the patient in the week before they began to feel sick will be self-quarantined at home for 14 days.

This group includes everyone from family to health workers who may have been in direct contact with them. The NICD will closely monitor them for any COVID-19 symptoms. 

Coronavirus testing in SA
Illustration of laboratory algorithm followed for testing of specimens collected from a suspected COVID-19 CASE by SA health department.

South Africans can do testing through the NICD, doctors and patients are to directly contact them on the General Public Hotline 0800 029 999.

Private testing can also be done at the cost of R1 400. 

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Lancet, a leading pathology service throughout Africa, says testing can now be done at its facilities. 

"Testing for now, even in private labs, will be prioritised for individuals that fulfil epidemiological and clinical case definitions and only if referred by a doctor," it says in a statement. 

It says patients will be required to produce epidemiological and travel information, once the patient's results are ready, it will share the information with the National Institute for Communicable Diseases.

It says this procedure would normally take up to 48 hours. 

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