South Africa: Kruger National Park Tourist Tests Positive for Novel Coronavirus

The entrance to Kruger National Park (file photo).

A French tourist who visited the Kruger National Park (KNP) has tested positive for the novel coronavirus (Covid-19).

According to SANParks, the tourist was part of a group of six who had booked a two-night stay in the park.

The group arrived in the country on 14 March and entered the KNP three days later on 17 March, and departed on 19 March.

Before leaving the KNP, one of the tourists, a 25-year-old man, consulted the resident medical doctor about what was initially suspected to be a malaria infection, but this was later ruled out.

The doctor advised the tourist to undergo a Covid-19 test because he complained about a sore throat and had a slight fever.

The doctor carried out the test, as per national Department of Health regulations, and the details of the group were obtained for easy tracing.

The group left for KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), where they were traced, and health department personnel attended to them.

The department confirmed that five members of the group have since self-quarantined and the patient was admitted to a designated health facility in KZN.

Following the release of the tourists' results, health department officials in Mpumalanga visited Skukuza to track down staff who may have had contact with the group. All possible contacts were speedily identified.

According to health department protocols, the identified staff will be closely monitored for the mandatory 14 days from the date of exposure, and will immediately be tested if they show any of the symptoms conforming to the Covid-19 case definition.

"Staff have very limited contact with visitors and all staff in national parks follow clear sanitising protocols as per SANParks-approved standard operating procedures (SOPs) as prescribed by the World Health Organisation and health department guidelines.

"We believe that if staff strictly follow these safety protocols, the chances of staff contracting the disease are very low. SANParks will, however, continue to monitor all staff closely and continuously adapt their visitor management and sanitising SOPs as this situation unfolds. All national parks remain closed in adherence to the nationwide lockdown," SANParks said in a statement.

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