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‘We Are Leaving Nothing To Chance,’ Says Mkhize As 121 South Africans In China Prepare For Homecoming


13 March 2020. Minister of health Dr Zweli Mkhize arrives to brief the media about the final inspection that they did at The Ranch Resort in Limpopo where the 121 southafrican nationals who are in China will be quarantined when they land the country. He is accompanied by the MEC of health in Limpopo, Dr Phophi Ramathuba. Picture: Thapelo Morebudi/The Sunday Times.

It is all systems go as the government prepares to evacuate 121 South Africans stranded in Wuhan, China, the coronavirus epicenter.

Health minister Zweli Mkhize on Friday gave the quarantine site, which will be used to host the returning South Africans, the thumbs-up.

The Ranch Resort will house those returning from the Chinese city, as well as the medical and military evacuation team, for 21 days.

Eight more South Africans have tested positive for coronavirus, bringing the total to 24. Health Minister Dr. Zweli Mkhize on March 13, 2020, announced the additional cases. He warned that the number could be higher because a number of positive test results were being verified.

Mkhize told reporters that he was happy with what he had seen.

“All the necessary arrangements have been made to receive those coming home. A military health center has been established. This includes facilities that will help people with both minor and serious ailments.

“There is a specialized military decontamination facility and an isolation area should anyone need to be isolated. There is also a specialized military isolation ambulance should anyone need to be moved to hospital for treatment,” said Mkhize.

He said that from the moment the final inspection was done, the entire area was now in total lockdown.

“No one, I repeat no one, will be allowed past this gate from now until the quarantine period is over. We appeal to the public not to come here,” he said.

Declining to say when the South Africans would land in SA, he said reports that they had received from the evacuation team were good.

“The evacuation team is in high spirits. Things are flowing smoothly and we are on track to bring our people home.

“There is a team on the ground in Wuhan and those who are coming home are being taken to a centralized area. From there they will be screened by the Chinese health authorities before they board the aircraft.

“They will again be screened by our staff. Special seating arrangements have been made and everyone will be allocated specific seats. Families will be kept together. There will also be an isolation facility aboard the aircraft,” he said.

Mkhize assured the country that the transportation of those being brought back to SA was being done in line with international best health practices.

“We are leaving nothing to chance,” he said.

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