South Africans and travellers to the Confederations Cup need not panic after the country's first case of swine flu was confirmed, health authorities said on Friday.
"We are not necessarily faced with a virulent disease. People should take precautions... but not panic," Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi told reporters in Pretoria.
"This case does not present any danger to the Confederations Cup currently underway in our country."
Motsoaledi said his department was prepared and had measures in place to handle the H1N1 influenza virus.
"We have systems in place to respond appropriately to any suspected or confirmed case of H1N1 influenza.
"The World Health Organisation (WHO) team has assessed our equipment and they said it was up to international standards," he said.
Motsoaledi called the media briefing after the first case of swine flu was confirmed in the country on Thursday.
Laboratory test results confirmed that a 12-year-old boy who arrived at the OR Tambo International airport from the US on Sunday had the virus.
The boy's father realised he was sick when he went to fetch him from the airport and took him to a private hospital nearby, said Dr Lucille Bloomberg of the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD).
On suspecting swine flu, the hospital sent specimens to the NICD and the virus was confirmed on Thursday.
The boy had since been discharged from hospital and was recovering in isolation at his home.
His family members were also given "necessary advice and treatment".
"He is doing OK... everyone's fine," said Bloomberg after talking to the family earlier on Thursday.
Attempts were still being made to locate passengers on the plane who might have had close contact with the boy. The department declined to release the name of the airline on which the infected boy had travelled into the country.
The WHO gave the Health Department a thumbs up, saying they were confident about the country's preparedness to handle the swine flu virus.
Professor Maurizio Babeschi of the WHO, who also attended the media briefing, said: "We are absolutely confident that South Africa can handle it. The way that they are handling it and being transparent about it is very positive."
The difficulty, however, was that it was impossible to screen passengers before they boarded planes in their countries because an infected person might not necessarily show symptoms immediately, said Bloomberg.
"Screening passengers before they board planes has been done in other countries but it doesn't work because while a passenger might be infected, they would not always show symptoms immediately," she said.
Gauteng health MEC Qedani Mahlangu told the media briefing that her department had "bought a lot of masks" and dispatched them to the ports of entry to be used in cases of emergency.
"We stand ready that at any given time when we detect this we will be able to react," Mahlangu said.
OR Tambo International Airport was working closely with airlines travelling into the country to ensure the airport was alerted on time of passengers with swine flu-like symptoms.
Cabin crew of all airlines travelling into the country had been told to notify the operational centre at the OR Tambo airport if they spotted a passenger with likely symptoms.
These suspected flu cases would have to then wear masks before being taken to the operational centre, which had a doctor and four nurses on standby.
From there, they would be transported to a nearby hospital for further assessment and treatment.
Health department spokesperson Fidel Hadebe said the Tambo memorial hospital, Tembisa hospital and the Charlotte Maxeke hospital (formerly Johannesburg General) were fully equipped to handle patients who might have the virus.
Members of the public were advised to practise basic hygiene like coughing or sneezing into their sleeves or disposable tissues and washing their hands frequently.
Overseas visitors were also advised to go to the nearest health facilities should they develop any flu-like symptoms, the department said.