A man wears a protective mask at OR Tambo International Airport. Picture: Shiraaz Mohamed/African News Agency (ANA)
A man wears a protective mask at OR Tambo International Airport. Picture: Shiraaz Mohamed/African News Agency (ANA)

No cases in SA yet, but we're ready for coronavirus, says health minister

By Siyabonga Mkhwanazi Time of article published Mar 4, 2020

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Cape Town -  Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has warned that the coronavirus was spreading fast across the world with 81 countries now affected.

But Mkhize said South Africa was ready despite the fact there is no coronavirus case in the country that has been reported.

More than 93 000 people across the world have been infected by the virus with most of the cases in China.

Mkhize told the portfolio committee on health on Wednesday measures were in place and South Africa was ready.

Deputy Minister of Health Joe Phaahla also told the committee they were dealing with the outbreak.

He said there was no need to panic despite South Africa planning to bring back 151 citizens from China.

Phaahla said the 151 will be quarantined and then tested.


“If you look at the evacuation plans, despite emphasising over and over again that the evacuation is planned for healthy South Africans who have been on lockdown for two months in Wuhan, so that they be moved to their country and be quarantined, rumour mongering (continues) that the government wants to import the coronavirus from China and risk 57 million people at the expense of 151 people,” said Phaahla.

Phaahla stressed that the reintegration of the returning South Africans would be done properly and that they would be quarantined to ensure that they do not pose a health risk.

Mkhize said the country was ready for the outbreak and they were following all the necessary guidelines to handle it.

* Read the latest on the COVID-19 outbreak on IOL's #coronavirus trend page.

Political Bureau

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