South Africa’s Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize says a suspected case of the deadly Coronavirus has been detected in Zambia, an epidemic that has killed over a 100 in China so far.

But Health Minister Dr Chitalu Chilufya has denied the reports, saying there is no such case in Zambia as reported by Mkhize.

South Africa’s EWN Reporter quoted Mkhize in a tweet, Wednesday, that the South African government was closely monitoring all cases.

“#Coronavirus Mkhize says there is a suspected case detected in Zambia and South Africa is closely monitoring all cases. So far, no case reported in SA. Screening has been intensified at all ports of entry,” EWN’s tweet read.

Mkhize held a media briefing yesterday where she spelt out the intervention measures the South African government had put in place in an event of a suspected case, and added that there was a case detected across borders.

“Closer to our shores, we are aware that there is a suspected case under investigation in Zambia – the NICD is closely monitoring that situation. We will shortly invite Professor Cheryl Cohen from this institute to elaborate in more detail how the institute is tracking the numbers and how it keeps the public and stakeholders informed,” said Mkhize as reported by South African media.

However, in an interview with News Diggers! last evening, Dr Chilufya said the Zambian government was on high alert and could not fail to inform the nation if there was any case of Coronavirus detected within the country.

“Listen and listen good, Zambia has not recorded any case of Coronavirus and by international regulations, the only authority that can notify the nation or its neighbours is either the host country or the World Health Organization. So as we speak, I want to tell you authoritatively that Zambia has not recorded any case of Coronavirus and we have however heightened our surveillance and are working closely with the WHO, Africa Centre for Disease Control, American Centre for Disease Control and the Chinese Centre for Disease Control to monitor the situation,” said Dr Chilufya. “We have heightened surveillance, we are screening points of entry, we are screening those coming into the country, especially those from places that have recorded cases. Any suspect is quarantined and investigated of the Coronavirus. As we speak right now, we don’t have a case of Coronavirus in Zambia and if there shall be any, we shall be able to notify the people ourselves but as at now, I dispel any such information.”

The rapidly evolving epidemic of the flu-like virus, known as 2019-nCov, had by Tuesday spread from China to 14 other countries, with 4,593 confirmed cases around the globe, 4,537 of them in China, according to the latest daily situation report published by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

China had at that stage reported 106 deaths, and a further 6,973 suspected cases.

The Zambian mission in China issued a statement, Tuesday, saying about 200 Zambian students were in Wuhan city, the epicentre of the epidemic, and cannot leave but their well being was being monitored.

Japan and the US have already repatriated hundreds of their citizens from in and around Wuhan, while Britain, the EU, Australia and South Korea are expected to shortly follow suit.