In a media briefing on Friday morning, January 31 in Johannesburg, it was confirmed that two South Africans have been quarantined in China following the coronavirus outbreak.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize assured the crowd there are no reported cases in South Africa.

“We welcome the declaration of an emergency of international concern. We reassure our people that there is no confirmed case of the virus in the country. However, there are two South Africans in China who are under quarantine,” Mkhize said during the briefing.

According to the Minister, 55 international travellers were screened upon entry into South Africa, but none tested positive for the disease.

The Western Cape’s Tygerberg Hospital has been demarcated the designated health facility to handle the disease in the case of an outbreak.

“South Africa has high referenced laboratories and technical skills to deal with coronavirus. We encourage all South Africans in China to register with embassies so that we know where to find them. At the moment, there is no evidence compelling us to repatriate our citizens from China.”

Yesterday (January 30) the World Health Organisation declared coronavirus a global emergency after cases have been reported in over a dozen countries. Reports thus far have come from Thailand, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, the United States, Australia, Malaysia, Macau, France, South Korea, Germany, India, Hong Kong, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, Vietnam, Nepal, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, and Finland.

A reported 213 people have died from the disease, and there are almost 9 800 confirmed cases of infection. Within the last 24 hours alone, there have been an additional 2 000 cases recorded in China, according to Chinese and World Health Organization (WHO) data. An additional 102 000 people are reportedly under medical observation with possible symptoms of the disease.

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Picture: Chinatopix via Associated Press

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