As of 25 May 2020, the NDoH and NICD’s definition is as follows:

A suspected COVID-19 case includes any person presenting with an acute (≤14 days) respiratory tract infection


other clinical illness compatible with COVID-19,


an asymptomatic person who is a close contact to a confirmed case*.

In the context of COVID-19, the key respiratory syndrome consists of ANY of:

  • Cough

  • Sore throat

  • Shortness of breath

  • Anosmia or dysgeusia

...with or without other symptoms
(which may include fever, weakness, myalgia, or diarrhoea)

*Note: Although asymptomatic close contacts are classified as suspected cases, they should not routinely be tested.

Atypical manifestations are increasingly being recognised, including large vessel strokes in young patients, unexplained abdominal pain, various dermatological manifestations, and a multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children.

A close contact is defined as a person having had face-to-face contact (≤1 metre) or having been in a closed space with a confirmed COVID-19 case for at least 15 minutes. This includes, amongst others:

  • All persons living in the same household as a COVID-19 case, and people working closely in the same environment as a case.

  • Healthcare workers or other people providing direct care for a COVID-19 case while not wearing recommended personal protective equipment or PPE (e.g., gowns, gloves, N95 respirator, eye protection).

  • A contact in an aircraft sitting within two seats (in any direction) of the case, travel companions or persons providing care, and crew members serving in the section of the aircraft where the case was seated.

Asymptomatic close contacts should not routinely be tested. However, under certain circumstances (e.g. in institutions such as care homes) testing of asymptomatic contacts may be indicated. (Further guidance on this topic is expected shortly.)

*Confirmed case: A person with laboratory confirmation of SARS-CoV-2 infection (using an RT-PCR assay), irrespective of clinical signs and symptoms. Symptomatic cases are considered infectious from 2-3 days before symptom onset to 14 days after symptom onset.

A single negative test result, especially if from upper respiratory tract specimen, does not exclude infection. Repeat sampling and testing of lower respiratory tract samples is recommended for case with severe disease or in whom COVID-19 is strongly suspected.

A Lab specimen form and a contact line list form must be completed.

The contact line form must be sent to the provincial contact person:

Eastern Cape -
Free State - /
Gauteng - /
KwaZulu-Natal -
Limpopo -
Mpumalanga: /
North West:
Northern Cape:
Western Cape:

The contact line form will soon be available electronically

All probable and confirmed cases are Category 1 Notifiable Medical Conditions

Answers extracted from: Covid-19 Quick Reference for Health Care Workers (25 May 2020)

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