As global concern for the spread of the coronavirus rises, a Stellenbosch University virologist urged South Africans not to panic.
JOHANNESBURG - As global concern for the spread of the coronavirus rises, a Stellenbosch University virologist urged South Africans not to panic.
Professor Wolfgang Preiser returned from Brussels this week where he was invited as an expert evaluator of coronavirus research proposals.
The South African Medical Association (SAMA) has already warned that it’s not a case of if COVID-19 arrives on local shores, but when.
Preiser says we must be prepared for this eventuality.
“For all intent and purposes, I think a comparison with a new flu strain is really not that wrong. And that means panicking is definitely not advised," said Presier.
Like with influenza, there are certain members of the public who are at particularly high risk.
It is these people Preiser says would need special attention and care.
“I don’t think we have a complete picture yet of how the new virus behaves.
"But from the publications that have appeared so far, it seems that it is the elderly and the chronically ill who are most badly affected, so those are the patients who will need intensive care unit treatment and who may actually die due to the infection."
The National Institute of Communicable Diseases says it remains on high alert.
It says measures are in place to detect and manage the disease should it reach South Africa.