Coronavirus (COVID-19) Most Read

Fri 06 March 2020:

Now that coronavirus has arrived in South Africa, with Algeria, Cameroon, Egypt, Senegal, Morocco, Nigeria and Tunisia also confirming cases of the disease – there are a lot of questions.

Insurance companies
South African insurance companies have started offering Covid-19-specific cover, and some are actively advertising this as a benefit to those who have international travel plans.

As a general rule, most travel insurance policies exist to cover unforeseen events, but they exclude coverage for pandemics and epidemics. This means any costs associated with medical expenses, trip cancellation, or disinclination to travel will be at the traveller’s own expense.

Big upcoming gatherings, including around Easter, now have to be reconsidered.

Other countries rapidly banned big public gatherings to slow the spread of Covid-19. The South African government would talk to sporting bodies and churches, Mkhize said in a press conference on Thursday – including around Easter, which sees some of the largest annual gatherings of people in Southern Africa.

Schools will not be closed down – yet
In Italy, and elsewhere, measures to stop or slow the spread of the Covid-19 virus included shutting down schools and universities.

South Africa would not do that on the basis of one case, Mkhize said on Thursday.

South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases has called for calm.
Most people who think they have the Covid-19 virus probably don’t, data to date suggests.

Up to 4 March it had tested 181 people for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the NICD said, of which 132 fell within the category of “persons under investigation”. All of those tests were negative – until the first positive case was identified on the morning of 5 March.

You can phone 0800 029 999, day or night, for more information – in theory.
The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) has a toll-free number for the public that deals with Covid-19 questions: 0800 029 999.

With the first case of infection now confirmed, that line will operated 24 hours per day, Mkhize told Parliament.

But on Thursday afternoon, shortly after the announcement, the NICD was apparently struggling with call volumes, with calls going unanswered or being dropped.

In other countries, toilet paper and pasta became hot commodities shortly after Covid-19 outbreaks.
Masks of various kinds became hot commodities in countries that detected the novel coronavirus – but shelves were rapidly emptied of toilet paper in Australia, and Italy saw fights about pasta.

South African retailers have had some time to prepare for the effects of the virus, and the impact it is likely to have on logistics operations, and so far have managed to keep shelves stocked.

If you have a mild case of Covid-19, big medical aid schemes will pay for testing – and you are definitely covered for the most common way it goes bad.
People infected with the virus behind Covid-19, properly known as SARS-CoV-2, can be entirely asymptomatic. Others may have only a mild case, worldwide reports show, much like a cold.

Depending on the nature of your medical aid, and just how comprehensive it is, you may have to pay for both diagnosis and treatment of such a case out of your own pocket, the Council for Medical Schemes said on Thursday.

But if things go bad, you are covered.

Pneumonia is one of the most common complications of Covid-19, the organisation said – and that is a prescribed minimum benefit (PMB) condition in South Africa.

“All medical schemes are required by law to pay for the diagnosis, treatment and care costs for this condition in full, irrespective of plan type or option,” the council said.

“Medical schemes are not allowed to fund PMB conditions from a member’s Medical Savings Account”.

Some of South Africa’s biggest medical aid administrators, Discovery Health, Momentum Health, and Profmed have all indicated their members will be covered for coronavirus testing.

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