An interministerial committee including health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize‚ Aron Motsoaledi and Lindiwe Zulu on Sunday addressed the country on plans to repatriate South Africans living in China amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Here’s what you need to know:
Two infected South Africans will return if they recover
Mkhize said the Chinese and Japanese embassies as well as the evacuees have been contacted by government regarding its decision to repatriate them.
Two locals who are based in Japan and were part of the crew on the Diamond Princess ship are receiving treatment after they tested positive for the virus. According to the minister‚ the SA government is monitoring their recovery and they will return to SA if they test negative for the virus.
“When they test negative‚ they will be free to return to SA because then‚ they will have been cleared of the virus. The others will also test and hopefully they will be returning without any restrictions.”
A response to requests to return
The minister said the repatriations are not necessary but are being carried out in response to requests made by 151 of the 201 locals who are based in Wuhan. He said the number fluctuates as some want to return‚ while others have indicated otherwise.
“At some point we had 80 and at some point the number went to 130 and of course now the figure is 151.”
Evacuees will be isolated
Mkhize noted that while the evacuees are not infected by the virus‚ they will be isolated during quarantine as a precautionary measure to ensure their safety and of those they will interact with.
The quarantine will happen over 21 days and will take place in three phases: evacuation‚ quarantine and reunification.
Quarantine sites not yet disclosed
84 sites have been identified by the government as quarantine zones and after careful consideration‚ experts will decide which one will be used.
“The team is capable of identifying the right place‚ so that we can actually use that. The requirement will be that there will be a perimeter line which will be guarded by the military. In other words‚ there will be no easy entrance into the site.”
No mixing allowed
The minister also said the individuals will be allowed to move within the site‚ but will not be allowed to exit until the quarantine period has been concluded.
To reduce further risk‚ mixing and sitting in groups will also be prohibited during quarantine as the individuals will be coming from different parts of Wuhan.
“No-one will be allowed to enter the zone. Not the media‚ families‚ not the officials who want to come and inspect. There will be no exchange of goods. They will be delivered within a certain point and with necessary precautions and protection‚ the others will collect from that point.”
By: Cebelihle Bhengu
Source: TMG Digital.