State mum on Nigeria church survivors’ lockdown for airborne diseases

2014-09-24 10:47

The health department is not commenting on claims that the 25 South Africans who survived a building collapse in Nigeria were under lockdown, but has confirmed that none of them has been discharged.

“All of them are still in hospital,” health department spokesperson Joe Maila said today.

He said he was unaware of the lockdown and thus could not answer questions about it.

“I don’t know about that, what does that mean? I don’t know if doctors will be able to speak on the record of patients.”

On Monday, Deputy Social Development Minister Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu told reporters in Pretoria that the 25 patients were under a 48-hour lockdown.

“Everybody coming out of Lagos is on a 48-hour lockdown. They can’t leave the hospital until the 48 hours are over,” she said at the time.

“Irrespective of the injury, all patients are going to be here for 48 hours. You know that there are a lot of airborne diseases in West Africa at this stage. They need to be fully decontaminated.”

The families of the injured were allowed about five minutes to see them when they arrived in South Africa on Monday.

Social development department spokesperson Lumka Oliphant could not be immediately reached for comment today.

The SABC this week reported that 10 of the injured had undergone surgery on Monday night as many of them had sustained fractures.

Maila could not confirm this yesterday.

About 115 people, among them 84 South Africans, were killed and dozens trapped when the multistorey guesthouse attached to the Synagogue Church of All Nations, run by Nigerian preacher TB Joshua, collapsed on September 12.

About 350 South Africans were thought to be visiting the church in Lagos when the building came down.

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