President Cyril Ramaphosa issued a direct evacuation of all South Africans from Wuhan in China on Thursday, February 27.
In a statement, the president said that the cabinet had come to this decision after consideration of circumstances and calls from several family members who want their loved ones back in the country.
Up to 47 countries have reported infections, but South Africa has been lucky so far and has not had a single case. The COVID-19 virus (Corona Virus) was first reported in Wuhan, China in November 2019. The virus has now infected more than 80,000 globally, killing at least 2,700.
“It is estimated that there are 199 South Africans citizens in Wuhan as per the latest consolidated list from the Department of International Relations and Cooperation. At this stage, 132 of them have expressed the desire to be repatriated. These compatriots are currently living under lockdown conditions following the outbreak of the corona virus,” the statement read.
There will be a 21 day precautionary measure put in place to ensure that the virus does not reach our shores.
“The Departments of Health and Defence will deploy healthcare personnel and supporting staff to provide assistance during the repatriation and quarantine processes. The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) will deploy consular services personnel to provide consular assistance. Department of Home Affairs (DHA) will provide immigration services. Department of Social Development (DSD) will offer trauma counselling and support. Further details in this regard will be communicated by the relevant line function ministries,” said Ramaphosa.
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak of the virus, which set in motion coordination efforts worldwide, as well as the implementation of strict surveillance measures, as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. The COVID-19 virus (Corona Virus), was first reported in Wuhan, China in November 2019.
According to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), several patients have been tested in South Africa but all tested negative for the virus.