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KZN lawyer tells of surviving nearly 70 days in lockdown, quarantine

Manashya Maharaj and her mother, Mala.

Manashya Maharaj and her mother, Mala.

Published Apr 6, 2020

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Durban - A Pietermaritzburg woman who was recently repatriated from the epicentre of the coronavirus in Hubei province in China has appealed to people to take the lockdown seriously.

Manashya Maharaj, a 28-year-old lawyer who taught English in China, was until a few weeks ago locked down in her apartment in Xiangyang City - about an hour away from Wuhan.

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Maharaj said when she first learnt about the virus from South African news platforms, it felt “unreal” that she was living in the epicentre.

Reality struck after they were placed under lockdown, authorities introducing stringent measures as soon as the outbreak surfaced.

“All stores were closed, public transportation was banned for public use. Airports were closed, temperature checks were mandatory at the gate of our complex and we weren’t allowed to exit our complex unless there were adequate reasons,” she said.

Maharaj’s lockdown in China lasted about 55 days, and once repatriated to the country, she underwent quarantine for 14 days at the Ranch Hotel in Polokwane.

By April 16, when South Africa’s lockdown is expected to end, Maharaj would have spent 88 days under lockdown.

She is happy to be under lockdown with her mother, Mala, at her side.

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“Speaking to loved ones was my main source of strength while under lockdown in China. I was able to maintain contact with those dear to me via Chinese social media platforms.”

Hearing the news that the government would be bringing her and others back to the country, Maharaj said she felt “proud, thankful and blessed” to be considered part of the South African family.

Of the Ranch Hotel during quarantine, she said: “I never felt so at home.”

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The Mercury

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