UPDATE | 184 SA citizens to be repatriated from Wuhan, China - report

2020-03-05 20:13

An aircraft has been secured for the repatriation of 184 South African citizens from Wuhan, China amid the global outbreak of the Covid-19 virus, reports the Government news site, SANews.

It will bring back the group of South Africans, which include teachers and other professionals currently working in Wuhan - the city in which the deadly virus originates.

Seven other South Africans have chosen to stay in the city and will not make the trip.

RUNDOWN |Coronavirus strikes in SA: What we know about the KZN father infected with the virus

"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," the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NatJOINTS) said in a statement on Wednesday.

"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," NatJOINTS further explained.

This comes after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced last Thursday that government was planning to repatriate South African citizens from Wuhan after citizens expressed a desire to return, News24 reported.

READ | Evacuation of SA citizens from Wuhan is understandable - Chinese embassy

This was followed with a briefing by the Health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize on Sunday where he outlined South Africa's plan to evacuate the citizens amid the outbreak.

In the briefing, Mkhize clarified that the citizens who were returning from Wuhan had not tested positive for Covid-19 and that they would also be quarantined for a further 21-day period upon their arrival.

The minister further highlighted that this operation would be conducted between a period of seven to 10 days.

ALSO READ | Coronavirus repatriation: This is SA's plan to quarantine 151 citizens returning from Wuhan

South Africa reported its first case of Covid-19 in KwaZulu-Natal on Thursday. 

In a statement, Mkhize said the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) confirmed a positive test of a 38-year-old man who travelled to Italy with his wife as part of a group of 10 people.

They returned to South Africa on 1 March.

The man tested positive on 3 March and has been in self-isolation since.

A tracer team has since been deployed to KwaZulu-Natal with epidemiologists and clinicians from the NICD.

ALSO READ | Coronavirus: SA's first Covid-19 patient is 'at home, self-isolating' - NICD

Read more on:    zweli mkize  |  durban  |  china  |  health  |  coronavirus
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