Two South Africans who were working as crew members on The Diamond Princess, a cruise ship in Japan, have tested positively for coronavirus according to the South African Health Department. These are the first South African citizens to contract the virus.
“The South African government has been made aware by Japanese authorities through the South African embassy in Tokyo, that there were 12 South African crew members working on board the Diamond Princess Cruise Ship when it was affected by Covid-19”, they said in a statement on Friday.
According to the statement released by the Health Department, the two South African citizens who tested positive, but appeared asymptomatic, are being tended to in Japan. They will be required to stay where they are until they are given clearance to travel.
The other South Africans on the ship, 10 in total, who tested negatively, are required to fulfil a quarantine period which is to last 14 days and apparently will not be allowed to leave until the others have left.
“At this stage, it is most appropriate that the Covid-19 confirmed South African citizens should be treated in Japan until they are fully recovered from the virus and are no longer contagious before they travel further,” said the Health Department.
“South Africa will continue to monitor the situation closely and maintain contact with the government of Japan in order to keep the public informed, ” they added.
Last night, Thursday February 27, President Ramaphosa issued an evacuation of all South Africans from Wuhan, the epicentre of the virus. Additionally, the first confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Sub-Saharan Africa have been reported in Nigeria.
South Africa itself has no cases, but tensions are rising due to these recent events. The government, however has assured that they have plans in place to make sure it’s citizens are safe.