More than 60 German tourists are grounded in the country and have been placed under quarantine, with one in hospital after testing positive for the Covid-19 coronavirus.
The group was caught trying to “sneak out” of the country on Thursday but Port Health Services were alerted, leading to the group being grounded.
While the details of how they planned to leave South Africa and how long they had been here are sketchy, Gauteng health spokesperson Kwara Kekana said she believed they were trying to fly out.
The department confirmed on Friday afternoon that 47 members of the group were under quarantine at a private facility in Gauteng.
“Due to the limited quarantine space, separate arrangements were made to have the other 15 members accommodated at one of Gauteng’s health facilities under quarantine,” Kekana said.
She said it was “disappointing” that the group had not been cooperating with the officials “to a point where police had to be called in by the department to help manage the situation”.
She would not say which hospital the man who tested positive was admitted to.
eNCA reported live from a place in Newlands, Johannesburg, where a hotel bus carrying the 15 tourists had broken down on its way to Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital where they were to get tested for Covid-19.
Kekana said: “Necessary precautions were taken with regards to the transportation to prevent exposure. The Gauteng department of health has pleaded with members of society, including visitors, to adhere to the national lockdown measures and protocols that government has put in place.
“It is through working together that we will be able to disrupt the chain of transmission,” she said.
Meanwhile, South Africa recorded its first two Covid-19 deaths on Friday.
The two Western Cape women, aged 28 and 48, succumbed the disease, according to Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize.
He also reported that the country had surpassed the 1 000 infections mark – but said he would give more details around this later in the day.