First coronavirus case in South Africa: what does it mean for us?

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In recent months, something hit the world of tech as nothing has before. The novel coronavirus COVID-19 broke out in China and practically halted the economy. No more factories. No more manufacturing. You know, to keep people safe from the fast-spreading virus.

We’ve reported of the virus impacting tech across the world — Apple took a few hits, Samsung closed a factory and various trade shows have been shut down. This hasn’t affected the end-user (much) as yet, but shortages could complicate things further down the line. I mean, the new 007 movie has even been moved out due to the virus. It’s affecting us.

And it’s now landed here at home. The first official case of the novel coronavirus has been reported in South Africa. We’re no longer #markedsafe unfortunately. EWN tweeted earlier today: “#BREAKINGNEWS: Health Department has confirmed the first case of the #Coronavirus in South Africa. Its a 38 year old male who travelled with his wife to Italy  @BongaDlulane”.

We’ll have to wait and see how the arrival of the virus will implicate South Africans, as well as general processes across industries. We suspect festivals and conferences may be cancelled to keep people from large public spaces, in order to keep the spread of the virus at bay.

At risk right now is… pretty much everything. Music festivals, Comic-Con, perhaps even the annual rAge gathering in South Africa if this going on long enough, and that’s not counting all of the car/food/homemaker/wedding/’special’ plant-based events planned all over the country for the next few months. Anything with international guests may find itself severely limited on little-to-no notice.

Comic-Con sent us a statement, explaining that Comic-Con Cape Town will be going ahead on 1-5 May. It says: “Our position is that we are going ahead with Comic-Con Cape Town. We are following the WHO reports daily to stay on top of the latest news. The safety and wellbeing of our customers is always our number one priority and as organisers, we have a responsible approach to our fans by ensuring that hand sanitisers are available throughout the show as well as continuous education via our social media posts. In addition, we align with the relevant city and tourism departments to ensure we are informed and to follow the guidelines as set out by them.”

But if you’re in Durban right now, make sure to sing Happy Birthday twice as you wash your hands — like Boris Johnson. That’s some foolproof advice right there.

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Deputy Editor at Stuff. Never mind the fancy title, I like writing about things that are cool. Like games, gadgets and sometimes even software. Depending on how cool it is.