On return from Europe, our Tax Director gets put to the test.
As related by Graeme Saggers, Nolands SA Tax Director.
"I have put down below my process. In truth I probably should’ve self-isolated as soon as I got back but no-one was taking it too seriously then.
• I arrived in Switzerland on 25 Feb and left on 27 Feb. On the day I arrived the Swiss had just reported their first Corona case, when I left 2 days later there were 4 cases. This was three weeks ago and there are now over 2,300 cases in Switzerland.
• I was in Germany from 27 Feb to 1 March. They had around 45 cases at that time (currently 7,241 cases). There was a fair amount of conversation around Corona but no significant action yet.
• When I arrived back at Cape Town airport, they had a full body scanner looking for temperatures. At that time there were no reported cases in SA.
• The week after I return, I had a head cold but nothing too serious. I often get sick after travelling due to all the germs in airports and on planes.
• I did not have a temperature so did not believe my symptoms were aligned with Corona.
• 3 days after I got back, on 5 March, the first SA case was reported.
• It was only after hearing a story a week later about how some people were uncomfortable in my presence as I had been away that I thought I should go and discuss it with my doctor.
• I went to the doctor, at Kenilworth Medicross, on Saturday 14 March. They had a nurse at the door conducting screenings. When I said I had one of the symptoms (a cough) and had travelled they immediately classified me as ‘high risk’ and took my temperature which was normal. I was issued with a face mask and asked to wait in my car.
• From my car a doctor phoned me and took me through a questionnaire. The responses were recorded on a form to be sent to the lab. The questions included details of my travel as well as all the people I had come into close contact with for 7 days prior and 7 days after I showed any symptoms.
• I immediately phoned my wife who took our kids home and we went into lock-down until the results came out. We notified our friends and family and cancelled commitments. We notified the children’s school and our colleagues. My immediate thought was that I should’ve taken it more seriously sooner.
• The form was sent to the lab and the Department of Health.
• From there I drove to Lancet Labs in Century City. Pathcare at Kingsbury are also conducting tests but they were not open on a Saturday. They will not let you into the lab if you are not wearing a face mask.
• The test was quick. The nurse took a swap from deep into my throat and a second swab from VERY deep into my nose. The nose test was a new experience, not very comfortable.
• The test was finished and they sent my samples to Johannesburg as that (I believe) is the only testing facility in the country at this stage.
• I was only expecting the results later in the week as they said 48 hours and I assumed there was a day of travel needed. However, the doctor phoned me at 08h10 on Monday morning with my NEGATIVE results - so all was clear.
• We have decided to keep our family in mostly self-isolation in order to limit social interaction. I will be back in the office on Tuesday and Wednesday but from there will likely work mostly remotely as schools will be closed and by then I assume the risk of being in public will have increased."
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