CAPE TOWN, March 12 (Xinhua) -- South Africa's Health Minister Zweli Mkhize on Thursday apologized for mistakenly reporting the first locally transmitted case of coronavirus.
"We humbly apologize for the error in reporting the first case of local transmission of COVID-19 in our earlier report," the minister said.
Earlier in the day, the minister said the country had reported the first case of locally transmitted COVID-19 case. According to Mkhize, a 32-year-old male in Free State Province had tested positive after coming into contact with a Chinese businessman.
The infected man was among the 17 confirmed cases of COVID-19 the country has reported since March 5. All the other 16 patients have a history of trips to Europe or the United States.
But Mkhize said later Thursday he wanted to indicate publicly that he withdrew the earlier reference regarding the first locally transmitted case.
"We regret that such a reference was made," he said.
On verification, the so-called locally transmitted case was found to be negative, the minister said.
This means that the number of cases in the country is revised down from 17 to 16, Mkhize said.