Article #462

Article #462

Written on 03/17/2020
Errol Denman

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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