French tourist with 'sore throat' at Kruger National Park had Covid-19

The tourist visited a doctor, complaining of a sore throat during his stay in the Kruger National Park. File photo.
The tourist visited a doctor, complaining of a sore throat during his stay in the Kruger National Park. File photo.
Image: Jackie Clausen

SANParks has confirmed that a French tourist had tested positive for Covid-19 at the Kruger National Park.

The parks authority said the 25-year-old man was part of a group of six who had booked a two-night stay in the national park.

“The group arrived in the country on 14 March 2020 and entered the [park] three days later on 17 March, departing on 19 March 2020,” said SANParks spokesperson Rey Thakhuli.

“Before leaving the KNP one of the tourists, a 25-year-old male, consulted the resident medical doctor in the park for what was initially suspected to be a malaria infection but later ruled out. The tourist was advised by the doctor to undergo a Covid-19 test as he complained about a sore throat and had a slight fever [37.3°C].

“The test was done as per the national department of health regulations by the KNP doctor with the details of the group obtained for easy tracing,” he said.

After the test the group left for KwaZulu-Natal. They were later traced to the province and  attended to by health department personnel.

“[National health department] has confirmed that the five members of the group have now placed themselves in self-isolation and the patient admitted to a designated health facility in KwaZulu-Natal,” said Thakhuli.

Mpumalanga health department officials have visited Skukuza to track down staff who may have had contact with the group. All possible contacts were 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 taken for testing if they show any of the symptoms conforming to the Covid-19 case definition,” said Thakhuli.

 “Staff have very limited contact with visitors and all staff in national parks follow clear sanitising protocols as per SANParks approved standard operating procedures 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,” Thakhuli said.

All national parks remain closed in adherence to the nationwide lockdown.

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