PRINTABLE | CORONAVIRUS: Handwashing steps for young children and teens
We've made two posters available for parents and teachers to download and print. They're great visual reminders to encourage thorough handwashing which experts say is one of the best ways to prevent coronavirus.

The first South African case of coronavirus was confirmed on Thursday, 5 March 2020 by Health Minister Zweli Mkhize. 

"We have confirmed the first case that has tested positive for the coronavirus in South Africa, Kwazulu Natal," the minister announced in Parliament

His confirmation was soon followed with a live media briefing by President Cyril Ramaphosa who shared that he was impressed with the "level of preparedness" of health professionals who were able to act quickly in identifying and managing the case. 

The president urged South Africans to be certain "that government will demonstrate its seriousness in terms of dealing with this matter, and we will continue to be transparent. At the same time, we want South Africans not to panic." 

As a strictly cautionary measure, KwaZulu-Natal school, Cowan House Prep School, closed its doors hours after these official announcements. 

In a statement, the school said it would be taking this time to obtain additional advice and guidance, and insists they do not wish to create alarm or unnecessary concern but feel a conservative action is appropriate under these circumstances.

Read more about Cowan House Prep School's shutdown here: KZN school closes in face of coronavirus fears 

Children aged 10 to 19 make up only 1% of cases reported

In his address, Minister of Health said that South Africa has not reached a stage where schools must close down, so parents and teachers need not worry at this time. 

In China, children 9 years old and younger account for 1% of the thousands of confirmed cases, of which none have died. 

In addition, children aged 10 to 19 make up only 1% of all cases reported to date. 

Read more parent-child focused FAQ here: Coronavirus: Is it safe to take your kids to daycare, and other questions parents ask

Preventing infection

Coronavirus has been classified as a respiratory virus and is passed along much like the flu. 

"Infection can be transmitted if a person touches objects or surfaces that an infected person has coughed and sneezed on and then touches their mouth, nose or face," explain researchers. 

Handwashing has been highlighted as an effective way of preventing infection and not masks as commonly believed. 

Experts say masks have been proven to be more effective in the prevention of passing on the disease, and not for protecting against infection. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) has provided specific steps for washing hands, which are: 

Wet your hands with water; 

1. Apply enough soap to cover all hand surfaces;

2. Rub your hands palm to palm;

3. Right palm over left dorsum (upper surface of the hand) with interlaced fingers, and vice versa; 

4. Palm to palm with fingers interlaced; 

5. Back of fingers to opposing palms with fingers interlocked;

6. Rotational rubbing of left thumb clasped in right palm and vice versa;

7. Rotational rubbing backwards and forwards with clasped fingers of right hand in left palm and vice versa; 

8. Rinse your hand with water;

9. Dry hands thoroughly with a single-use towel;

10. Use towel to turn off the faucet (tap);

11. Your hands are now safe.

Watch the video below (or on YouTube) to see what this looks like: 

Visual guide 

To act as a reminder, teachers (and parents) can print out these charts for visual instructions to their children.

We have made two printable posters available, one for preschool aged children and another for primary and high school pupils. 

Click, download and print. 

For preschoolers: 


For primary and high school pupils: 

Free handwashing how to poster

For more information on this strain of the coronavirus, visit Health24: Coronavirus 101 – what you need to know

Chat back:

Share your story with Parent24. Anonymous contributions are welcome.

WhatsApp: Send messages and voicenotes to 066 010 0325

Email: Share your story with us via email at chatback @

Sign up for Parent24's newsletters.

Read Parent24’s Comments Policy

Everything from parties to pre-schools in your area.

Jobs - Find your dream job

Sales Executive

UDM International (Pty) Ltd
R5 500.00 - R35 000.00 Per Month

Data Analyst

Cape Town
Tumaini Consulting
R540 000.00 - R800 000.00 Per Year

Intermediate Java Developer

Tumaini Consulting
R540 000.00 - R780 000.00 Per Year

Property - Find a new home