132 SA citizens to return from China
Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize and President Cyril Ramaphosa are yet to confirm when 132 South Africans living in China will be arriving in the country, amid fears that they will bring the virus back home. The South Africans residing in Wuhan City, China have requested to be repatriated back home.
Most of these South Africans are students, teachers and other professionals currently working in Wuhan. Only seven South Africans in Wuhan have opted to remain in Wuhan City.
President Ramaphosa announced that these compatriots are currently living under lockdown conditions following the outbreak of the coronavirus. A multidisciplinary team of Ministers is busy with the logistical arrangements and government is in constant communication with the families of all affected individuals.
“None of the affected individuals have been diagnosed with the virus nor have they exhibited any symptoms thereof. Upon arrival in South Africa, they will be placed in quarantine for 21 days as an additional precautionary measure,” said Khusela Diko, Spokesperson to the President.
Healthcare personnel and supporting staff have been deployed to provide assistance during the repatriation and quarantine processes. Department of Home Affairs (DHA) will provide immigration services and the Department of Social Development (DSD) will offer trauma counselling and support.
The aircraft with the capacity to bring back the citizens in Wuhan has been secured. An interdisciplinary team of relevant departments including Health, Home Affairs, Social Development and the Defence Force will form part of the repatriation team from China to South Africa.
They will be working with the Chinese authorities to screen the group of South Africans before they depart the epicentre of Wuhan. With the support of the South African Embassy in China, a ground transport plan is being put in place to ensure that all citizens who are to be evacuated are safely brought to a central collection point from where they will be transported home.
Negotiations with a number of service providers to serve as a quarantine area have not yet been concluded, so no specific venue that has been confirmed.