COVID-19 Information

Independent Community Pharmacists are South Africa’s most accessible healthcare providers. Working on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, the public depend on you for the best advice and for maintaining good health.

To aid you and your pharmacy staff in managing patient queries, staying up to date with COVID-19 information as well as protecting your pharmacy enviornment, ICPA has setup this page to collate important information for you.

This page will be updated daily with the latest news from the National Department of Health (NDoH), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Institution of Communicable Disease (NICD) among others.

We will update this reresource page with updates as they become available.

Visit the NICD webpage for up to date statistics on South Africa COVID-19 cases. 

(Click HERE to visit the site)

Visit the COVID-19 Visualizer webpage for up to date statistics on worldwide COVID-19 cases. 

(Click HERE to visit the site. Tap/Click on a country to see live results)

COVID-19 Downloads & Links

The NICD, DoH and WHO has compiled microsites to help diseminate information to all healthcare professionals, ICPA urges our members to make use of these souces of information. This will help curb misinformation and undue panic.

ICPA SOP - Community Pharmacy Toolkit

ICPA SOP Document for Community Pharmacy – Click HERE

ICPA SOP – Implementation of Disaster Management Regulations – Click HERE

ICPA Infectious Control Document for Community Pharmacy – Click HERE

ICPA Risk Management Tool for Retail Pharmacy – Click HERE

ICPA Risk Assessment Sheet – Click HERE

ICPA Template Permit for Essential Service Workers – Click HERE

Individual Staff Risk Assessment Guideline – Click HERE

Individual Staff Risk Assessment Sheet (Template) – Click HERE


ICPA COVID-19 Posters and Notices

Click HERE to download the A4 STOP POSTER – display this poster outside your pharmacy window or door

Click HERE to download the A2 STOP POSTER – display this poster outside your pharmacy window or door

Click HERE to download the A4 HAND WASHING POSTER – display this poster outside your pharmacy window or door

Click HERE to download the A4 MENTAL HEALTH for healthcare workers POSTER – display this poster in your pharmacy for all your employees

Click HERE to download the A4 POSTER FOR WHEN TO WEAR MASKS – display this poster in your pharmacy for all your employees

Click HERE to download the A4 POSTER FOR HOW TO DISCARD MASKS PROPERLY – display this poster in your pharmacy for all your employees


Government Regulations and Guidelines - Coronavirus Covid-19

South African Government Regulations and Guidelines – Covid-19

Click HERE to visit the website page

The webpage includes;

  • Regulations
  • Disaster management guidelines and notices
  • Disaster Management Act

DoH Toolkit

Department of Health COVID-19 Tools and Resources – Click HERE

Government Notice on Workplace readiness – Click HERE

Guidelines for Symptom monitoring and management of Essential Workers for COVID-19 related infection – Click HERE

Guidance on Vulnerable Employees and Workplace Accommodation (V4: 25 May 2020) – Click HERE

NICD Resources

National Institution for Communicable Disease Resources and Tools – Click HERE

SAHPRA Notices

SAHPRA Warning: Risk of sub-standard and falsified health products in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic – CLICK HERE

SAHPRA Notice: MD003: Testing for COVID-19 – CLICK HERE

SAHPRA Notice: The Appropriate place for Rapid Test Kits – CLICK HERE


There are several frequently asked questions – this section is to help community pharmacists and other healthcare professionals to quickly gain knowledge and assist their patients

What is COVID-19?

Human coronaviruses are common throughout the world. The name corona refers to a crown because these viruses have crown-like spikes on their surface when viewed under an electron microscope. There are many different coronaviruses identified in animals but only a small number of these can cause disease in humans. Some coronaviruses such as 229E, NL63, OC43 and HKU1 are common causes of illness, including respiratory illness, in humans throughout the world. Sometimes coronaviruses infecting animals can evolve to cause disease in humans and become a new (novel) coronavirus for humans. Examples of this are the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV), first reported from Saudi Arabia in 2012, and the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS-CoV), first recognized in China in 2002. On 7 January 2020, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was confirmed as the causative agent of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The majority of the case-patients initially identified were dealers and vendors at a seafood, poultry and live wildlife market (Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market) in Jianghan District of Hubei Province. This suggests that the novel coronavirus has a possible zoonotic origin. However, there has been ongoing sustained transmission of COVID-19 in countries to date. The specific source of the virus is not yet known.



Who is most at risk of COVID-19

Currently, South Africa has local transmititon of the virus, meaning a person may not have to have been in a “hotspot” area or have had direct contact with another who has.

The extract below from the NICD gives basic information for persons who may be at high risk.

“Currently travellers to areas where there is ongoing sustained transmission of COVID-19 including Mainland China (all provinces), Hong Kong, Japan, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Vietnam, Taiwan, Italy and the Islamic Republic of Iran are at greatest risk of infection with COVID-19. Furthermore, the elderly, individuals with co-morbidities and healthcare workers have been found to be at a higher risk of morbidity and mortality associated with the SARS-CoV-2. Please consult the latest guidance for information on which countries are experiencing outbreaks of COVID-19. Information can be accessed at reports.”


How is COVID-19 transmitted?

How is COVID-19 transmitted?

While the first cases probably involved exposure to an animal source, the virus now seems to be spreading from person-to-person. It is thought to happen mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza and other respiratory pathogens spread. Thus far the majority of cases have occurred in people with close physical contact to cases and healthcare workers caring for patients with COVID-19.


Signs and Symptoms of COVID-19

Current symptoms reported for patients with COVID-19 have included mild to severe respiratory illness with cough, sore throat, shortness of breath or fever [≥ 38°C (measured) or history of fever (subjective). The complete clinical picture with regard to COVID-19 is still not fully clear. Reported illnesses have ranged from infected people with little to no symptoms to people being severely ill and dying.



COVID-19 is diagnosed by a laboratory test, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) molecular test, on a respiratory tract sample (e.g. sample from nose, throat or chest). For specific guidance on sample collection and transport please visit the NICD’s website:



Treatment is supportive (e.g. provide oxygen for patients with shortness of breath or treatment for fever). There is no specific antiviral treatment available. Antibiotics do not treat viral infections. However, antibiotics may be required if a bacterial secondary infection develops.


How is COVID-19 infection prevented?

Currently, there is no vaccine for COVID-19. Officials in China have intensified efforts to contain the spread of the virus. There are no specific measures currently recommended to prevent COVID-19 but the following can provide protection against infection with coronaviruses and many other viruses that are more common in South Africa:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay at home when you are sick and try and keep distance from others at home.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a flexed elbow or a tissue, then throw the tissue in the bin.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Avoid contact with farm or wild animals (alive or dead), animal markets, and products that come from animals (such as uncooked meat).


Who do I contact for more information?

For ICPA related queries, contact the ICPA head office on 021 671 4473 or via email

For medical/clinical related queries by health care professionals only, contact the NICD Hotline +27 (0) 82 883 9920 (for use by healthcare professionals only).



Behavioural Advice for staff and patients

Since Sunday 15th March 2020, when the President of South Africa delacred a state of disaster, there has been uncertainty, panic and misinformation shared between members of the public. To curb misinformation and to ensure your pharmacy environment is clear on expectations and responsibilities, please click on the ICPA documents that can be printed and displayed in your pharmacy for clarity. 

.vcard author { display:none !important; }