South Africa

Officials raid Durban building to screen people allegedly showing coronavirus symptoms

Officials raid Durban building to screen people allegedly showing coronavirus symptoms

Lancet Laboratory Rochester Place staff are seen as patients arrive for coronavirus testing, 18 March 2020, in Sandton, at the lab. Patients arriving at the facility have all been referred by a doctor to be tested. Picture: Michel Bega

No one, however, has tested positive so far.

KwaZulu-Natal authorities have swooped on a building in Durban’s CBD that was suspected of housing people who allegedly showed symptoms linked to the novel coronavirus.

No one, however, has tested positive so far.

“We received a serious complaint about people who are alleged to have symptoms of coronavirus that live in a building in West Street… There are other serious allegations made by a complainant,” said spokesperson for the KZN department of economic development and tourism Ndabezinhle Sibiya on Wednesday.

He said MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube met with senior police management at provincial and national level “who consequently deployed intelligence operatives”.

“They uncovered shocking stuff. This morning [Wednesday] around 12.12am the whole building was locked down by law enforcement agencies. We had pre-raid briefings involving all law enforcement agencies and health professionals from the Department of Health.”

Sibiya said safety was a matter of the utmost concern.

“A decision was made that before a raid could be conducted, safety measures should be put in place and that people who live in the building be subjected to intensive screening.”

Screenings were expected to have begun at 8am. The media were not allowed near the building for safety reasons.

According to a source who was part of the raid, no one was believed to have tested positive for Covid-19.

“Everyone was screened, and no one tested positive. There were about 145 Chinese nationals.”

The source said officials from the health department administered testing.

“They were tasked with that aspect of the raid. Everyone was well clad in protective gear, but no one came out positive. No one had to quarantine.”

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