Since the first reported case of a novel coronavirus in the city of Wuhan, in China’s Hubei province, the virus has flighted a global spread that resulted in the World Health Organisation (WHO) declaring a pandemic of COVID-19 on 11 March 2020. Currently, the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting 185 countries and territories, with a reported 2.4 million known cases and over 165,000 known deaths to date (2020.04.20). Although the virus reached Africa later than other regions, the continent now has over 20,000 known cases. The first week of March saw the South African Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize confirm the first COVID-19 case in South Africa, with its origins traced to a group of 10 South Africans who returned from Italy on March 3rd. South Africa now has the highest number of confirmed cases on the continent, at 3 158.
As it stands, countries from the United States of America to China are experiencing nationwide COVID-19 testing and resource shortages at a facility level. As a result, it is expected that the exact figure of affected patients is likely higher than reported globally. This occurrence not only affects a facility’s ability to treat patients, who are potentially at risk, but also hinders a facility’s ability to effectively manage, develop provisions, and implement containment strategies for any further outbreaks within surrounding areas.