THE Diamond Princess cruise ship, which was quarantined. Picture: AP
THE Diamond Princess cruise ship, which was quarantined. Picture: AP

Two South Africans who tested positive for coronavirus in Japan, recovered and heading home

By Jolene Marriah -Maharaj Time of article published Mar 5, 2020

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Durban - The two South Africans who tested positive for coronavirus on a luxury cruise liner in Japan have been given the green light to head home after they complete their treatment. 

The pair who had been working on the Diamond Princess in Japan tested positive Covid-19 last month. 

From the 3 700 people on board the cruise liner, a total of 705 people aboard the ship tested positive for the virus.

Phumla Williams, Government Communication and Information System acting director-general said the pair have since tested negative for the virus and were pleased to announce that they would soon be heading home. 

"We are pleased to have been advised that the two South Africans working on the cruise ship Diamond Princess who initially tested positive for COVID-19 have now tested negative and will shortly be making their way home," said Williams.

She added that there were still no cases on coronavirus reported in South Africa.

Last week President Cyril Ramaphosa said a total R25 million will be spent to expatriate the hundreds of South Africans from Wuhan in China. 

President Cyril Ramaphosa said 151 members of the South African National Defence Force will be deployed for the operation.

"A total of 184 South Africans have indicated their desire to be repatriated back home.  Most of these South Africans are students, teachers and other professionals currently working in Wuhan.  At this only seven South Africans in Wuhan have opted to remain in Wuhan City," said Williams. 

"At this stage the technical team is working hard to finalise this critical area of work and there is no specific venue that has been confirmed.  We can however reassure that this work will be concluded in the not so distant future. We therefore wish to discourage any speculation about possible sites, which some media houses have been reporting in their respective platforms. 
We have also received some disturbing reports, of some of the potential service providers being intimidated.  This intimidation makes it very difficult for government to speedily conclude preparations, " said Williams. 

A South African living in Wuhan waiting to be repatriated told The Mercury Newspaper: “The government should assist all South Africans not just there because we are all affected by this virus,” he said. “We are stuck at home with no proper food, no transport, no work, nothing is opened and we’ve read things may only go back to normal in six months.”

The outbreak started in December and has claimed over 3000 deaths globally. 

More than 90 000 people were said to be infected with the disease. 


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