South Africans repatriated from Wuhan to arrive on Friday

Wuhan Yangtze River Tunnel is blocked with a barrier following an outbreak of the new coronavirus and the city’s lockdown, in Wuhan, Hubei province, China, ON January 25, 2020. Picture: REUTERS/CHINA DAILY

The 122 South Africans who are expected to be repatriated from Wuhan, China, are due to arrive in South Africa on Friday, according to Minister in the Presidency,

Jackson Mthembu

He said the repatriation was based on an agreement with the government, which included keeping the repatriated South Africans in quarantine.

“It’s in their interests, but it is in the public interest, too.”

The government will foot the quarantine bill.

He briefed the media about the outcomes of Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting and the coronavirus (Covid-19) featured prominently in his statement and in journalists’ questions.

“Cabinet reassures all in South Africa that every precaution is being taken to safeguard the country against any surge of Covid-19,” Mthembu said.

“The Minister of Health, Dr. Zweli Mkhize, reported to Cabinet that there were 13 cases of Covid-19 in South Africa. This morning, the Minister of Health confirmed that another four new cases have been identified, bringing the number of Covid-19 cases to 17. He will provide further details during the course of the day.”

He said the Cabinet reiterated the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) call for all South Africans to take preventative measures to stop the spread of the virus.

Mthembu said the Cabinet commended the work done by the inter-ministerial committee tasked with dealing with Covid-19, led by Mkhize, which worked with the NICD.

“Cabinet appreciates that most provinces have deferred communication on this Covid-19 matter to the Minister of Health because of its national and international importance. We urge all other provinces to also follow suit to ensure centralization of communication and therefore avoid any unintended confusion and uncoordinated messaging.