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As South Africa takes drastic measures to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, the Free State health department has identified 1 259 people who came into contact with 480 people who attended a massive church service in Bloemfontein in March…

ACDP leader Kenneth Meshoe and MP Steve Swart, who have since tested positive for the novel coronavirus, also attended the same service.

Department spokesperson Mondli Mvambi said on Sunday that the department has, so far, reached 973 of the contacts and 67 tested positive.

Three of the people who tested positive were admitted to hospital, Mvambi said.

The 67 cases who tested positive were among 200 who experienced some symptoms that included coughing, sneezing, throat irritation and difficulty breathing.

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The remaining 773 were asymptomatic.

The department said members of four other churches either attended the service, went to a conference or had some form of close contact with others while they were unaware that they had the virus.

“We are pleased that we are able to treat people with underlying causes and are seemingly likely to secure a growing number of recoveries.

“We have one person in ICU of private facility this is a display collaboration with the private health facilities to increase our number of ICU beds to 320 and 856 for quarantine in some of the hospitality establishments owned by government, and 103 beds for isolation.

“We have the Albert Nzula Hospital in Trompsburg, Senorita Ntlabathi in Ladybrand and Mantsopa TB Hospital that has recently been refurbished but has not yet been commissioned.

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