Coronavirus: Four South Africans “with symptoms” were left in China

By Jonisayi Maromo Time of article published Mar 16, 2020

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PRETORIA – Health Minister Zweli Mkhize on Monday revealed that four South Africans “with some symptoms” were left in the Chinese city of Wuhan when South Africans living in the coronavirus (Covid-19) epicenter were repatriated back home last week.

“We wish to advise South Africans that when our citizens were boarding from Wuhan, we did medical screening at that level, and that screening was done both by South African and by Chinese authorities.

"Of the citizens that had presented themselves for repatriation, four had to remain behind because they displayed some symptoms,” Mkhize told journalists in Pretoria.

The health minister was leading a media conference of the South African government’s National Command Council on Covid-19 that President Cyril Ramaphosa set up as the number of infections rose in the vast southern African nation.

Passengers disembark from a plane on their arrival in Polokwani, South Africa, Saturday, March 14, 2020 after being repatriated from Wuhan, China where they will be kept in quarantine at a nearby resort. For most people the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. (AP Photo)

“It must be highlighted that this does not mean they have been infected but this was done just to mitigate the risk of having anyone on the plane who could be having any form of symptoms. 

"We are not saying they have the virus. We are saying on the criteria of bringing them (South Africans) back, we kept saying we are only going to bring back those South Africans displaying no symptoms, no fever and have not tested positive,” Mkhize said 

He said the national department of social development has been in touch with the families of the South Africans left in Wuhan.

The South Africans repatriated from Wuhan, arrived in the country last week and are being kept under heavy security.

They will be in isolation for between 14 and 21 days, with police and the army patrolling the perimeter of a special quarantine facility in the Limpopo province. 

African News Agency

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