Tuesday, 03 March 2020

Pretoria: The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) on Tuesday confirmed that it is part of a multi-disciplinary team that has been instructed by President Cyril Ramaphosa to repatriate South African citizens from the COVID-19 hit city of Wuhan in China.

Other departments involved are the Department of Health and the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco).

According to the Department of Defence, there are approximately 151 South African citizens that are to be repatriated back to South Africa.

“Once all the logistics have been confirmed by the planners, who are busy with the planning of the operation, the repatriation process will then commence,” the department said in a statement.

“The repatriation planning process is currently at an advanced stage and takes into consideration everything related to the logistics for the operation,” the department said.

Last December, Chinese authorities announced the emergence of a novel Coronavirus, which was the causative agent for an outbreak of respiratory disease.

On 30 January 2020, due to the emerging worldwide spread of the virus, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared Coronavirus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

This virus has now come to be known as COVID-19. To date, there has been no case of COVID-19 in South Africa.

South Africans are being repatriated from Wuhan City, as per the President’s directive. Cabinet has decided on this course of action after due consideration of the circumstances, and following several requests from the families of South Africans in the city.

In South Africa, a quarantine facility that meets all the requirements has been identified.

There will be a perimeter line that will be guarded by the military. Within that perimeter, the area will be declared a no entry zone and a no flight zone. Those under quarantine will not be allowed to exit the perimeter but will be allowed to move freely within the perimeter.

On arrival, all quarantine members will be briefed and tested, and there will be screening done at pre-determined intervals. – SAnews.gov.za