JOHANNESBURG – South Africa has just evacuated some 121 of its citizens from Wuhan, in China, the epicenter of the Coronavirus pandemic.
The 121 expatriates arrived in the country on Saturday, accompanied by members of the South African National Defence Force and South African Airways.
They will be quarantined at the Ranch Hotel and Resort in Polokwane, where police and military personnel have been stationed since earlier in the week.
The government initially received more than 180 requests from South Africans in Wuhan to be repatriated to South Africa, but more than 60 of them subsequently changed their minds and decided to remain in China due to contractual obligations.
The repatriated citizens would be quarantined in South Africa for an initial period of 21 days.
On Friday, health minister Zweli Mkhize announced that 24 people have so far tested positive for the deadly virus in the country. All have traveled abroad recently.
Mkhize said the health department is still awaiting more results of those who have tested for Covid-19.
“At this point I wish to also bring it to your attention that there are more positive results that have come out. The NICD and NHLS are now verifying the information and these results. Thereafter we will make a formal announcement,” explained Mkhize in his statement.
The virus was first reported in Wuhan, China in December 2019 and the World Health Organisation has since declared its outbreak as a global health emergency and of late a pandemic.