NATIONAL NEWS - An aircraft with the capacity to bring back South Africans from the coronavirus-hit Wuhan City in China has been secured, according to a statement by the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NatJoints).
“An interdisciplinary team of relevant departments including Health, Home Affairs, Social Development and the Defence Force will form part of the repatriation team from China to South Africa,” NatJoints said in a statement today, 5 March.
The team will be working with the Chinese authorities to screen the group of South Africans before they depart the epicentre of Wuhan.
“With the support of the South African Embassy in China, a ground transport plan is being put in place to ensure that all citizens who are to be evacuated are safely brought to a central collection point from where they will transported home,” the statement reads.
A total of 184 South Africans have indicated their desire to be repatriated.
Most of these South Africans are students, teachers and other professionals working in Wuhan. At this stage only seven South Africans in Wuhan have opted to remain in Wuhan City.
There is only one reported case of the virus in the country. The Department of Health is continuing to monitor the situation closely and has put plans in place to deal with any detection of the virus. Port Health has also doubled its efforts to screen all the travellers at all ports of entry, according to the statement.
Travellers visiting the country are being subjected to health screenings before they disembark on flights or are allowed to enter the country.
The two South Africans that work on the cruise ship Diamond Princess who initially tested positive for Covid-19 have now tested negative and will be making their way home shortly.
“Negotiations with a number of service providers to serve as a quarantine area have not yet been concluded. 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,” the NatJoints statement said.
NatJoints has discouraged any speculation about possible sites as reported by some media houses on their respective platforms.
Family members who require more information about their loved ones who will be repatriated can send an e-mail to the Department of International Relations and Corporation (Dirco) at email@example.com, or phone them on 012 351 1754.
'We bring you the latest Garden Route, Hessequa, Karoo news'