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First coronavirus case confirmed in South Africa – what you need to know




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The National Department of Health (NDoH) has advised that the first confirmed case of COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) has been reported in KwaZulu-Natal.

What should Medihelp members do if they present with any symptoms?

Members of Medihelp medical aid who experience flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough and breathing difficulties, should consult their doctor, especially if they have recently travelled to high-risk countries or have been in contact with travellers from these countries.

What will the doctor do?

The doctor will ask about their symptoms, people they have interacted with, any history of travel as well as their work and home environments. A blood test or saliva test may be done to confirm the diagnosis. Tests must be done by a state laboratory (as advised by the NDoH) and the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) has confirmed that it has the capacity to perform diagnostic tests for COVID-19. Results are generally available within a few hours.

How will Medihelp pay for the treatment?

Medihelp medical aid will pay for doctors’ visits and the costs for testing in terms of the medical aid plan chosen by the member. Patients who are admitted to hospital for COVID-19 will be covered in terms of the rules of their plans, and hospital groups have confirmed with Medihelp that protocols are in place to deal with these cases.

What will be funded as prescribed minimum benefits (PMB)?

The diagnosis and management of uncomplicated coronavirus infection are not covered as a PMB condition, but the virus may cause various complications such as pneumonia and kidney or multiple organ failure, which are eligible for PMB.

Preventive measures

The virus is spread via coughing and sneezing, as droplets attach to surfaces and infect others. Important preventive measures include the following:
  • Practise good hand hygiene by frequently washing the hands up to the elbows with soap and water or using alcohol-based antiseptic hand sanitiser;
  • Disinfect surfaces which are frequently touched, as viruses can survive on surfaces for up to 24 hours;
  • Avoid touching a surface and then your face;
  • Avoid close contact with people suffering from respiratory illness;
  • Delay non-essential travel until the situation is resolved; and
  • Practise cough etiquette (i.e. cover your mouth and nose with a discardable tissue when you cough or sneeze).

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