South Africa is an open economy; we receive tourists and investors. But with the world in panic mode after the outbreak of the coronavirus in China, do we have sufficient measures in place at our entry points to safeguard ourselves? Courtesy #DStv403
JOHANNESBURG - The new coronavirus has killed 26 people in China.
The virus has been detected in more than 800 cases globally.
China has responded by placing travel restrictions on ten cities with a population of 20 million people.
The World Health Organisation says it's not yet a global health emergency.
In a statement, WHO said, "the Emergency Committee on the new #coronavirus (2019-nCoV) considered that it is still too early to declare a public health emergency of international concern given its restrictive and binary nature."
South Africa's Health Minister Zweli Mkhize says there's no need to panic.
"At entry points largely from the airport we have temperature screening system that will pick up any abnormal temperatures and we would like to reassure South Africans the risk is very limited but we remain very much on alert," he said.
In South Africa, there have been no cases of coronavirus to date.
While Chinese authorities are battling to contain the virus that originated in Wuhan, there have also been seven exported cases - four in Thailand, one in Japan, one in South Korea and one in the US.
South African experts say for now, it doesn't seem like the virus is very contagious.
Professor Cheryl Cohen from the National Institute for Communicable Diseases said, "while there's a lot of concern recently about the virus whether does it spread easily among people, it appears this virus is not very efficient or good spreading at between people. Like flu up until now all cases identified globally have direct link to Wuhan."
The virus infects the lungs and causes breathing problems. Symptoms start with a fever and cough.