All four are part of a group of 10 people who traveled to Italy recently

March 9 (BusinessDay) – Four more South Africans have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, health minister Zweli Mkhize said on Monday afternoon.

It brings the total number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in SA to seven. All were part of a group of 10 who travelled to Italy.

“We are not surprised. We think the kind of exposure these members had, if it was enough to create an infection in one, all of them would have had a similar exposure,” said the minister, referring to the first confirmed case last week.

“What we are now focusing on is tracking all the contacts,” he said, a briefing by the government’s interministerial committee for dealing with the coronavirus.

The committee includes the ministries of health, international relations and co-operation, state security, home affairs, tourism, international relations and co-operation, co-operative governance and traditional affairs, as well as rural development, agriculture and land reform

The minister said one of the group of 10 travellers had returned to London from Italy, and the government was still waiting for the test results from the last two members of the group who are in SA.

The rapid spread of the coronavirus, which emerged in China in December, has sparked worldwide alarm, battering financial markets and disrupting global travel and trade. By Monday afternoon, there were more than 111,000 cases in 91 countries and territories, including nine on the African continent, according to the Johns Hopkins tracker.

The rand fell to its lowest level since 2016 on Monday, as investors dumped riskier emerging-market assets and state electricity generator Eskom announced load-shedding. NW

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