Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus will not be allowed on the plane: Mkhize

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Health Minister Zweli Mkhize says if any of the South Africans who are going to be repatriated from the Chinese city of Wuhan is diagnosed or has symptoms of coronavirus, they will not be allowed on the plane.

About 122 South Africans are expected to land on Friday.

The army has identified the Ranch Hotel and Resort in Polokwane as a suitable quarantine area for those returning from China.

The number of coronavirus cases in South Africa is now 16, with no reported deaths.

More than 128 000 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in 118 countries across the globe, with at least 4600 deaths.

Speaking on Morning Live, Mkhize says, “We have said that those who would have been to hospital and were treated  and diagnosed positive or are having symptoms, all those will not get on to the flight, they will need to meet with the Chinese health authorities so that they can get the necessary attention. Only the ones that will come in are those that have no symptoms, have no record of having been diagnosed positive with the coronavirus.”

In the video below, Zweli Mkhize speaks about the repatriation route:

No exact landing time

Mkhize has outlined the travel process that is being taken to repatriate 122 South Africans from the Chinese city of Wuhan.

They are being evacuated due to fears of further outbreaks of the coronavirus from Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus.

He says, “They will have a period of time, about eight or so hours, to load everyone in and when they are done they will come back. So we will not be able to give you exact times because it all has to do with getting the slot to land in and to wait to come out. The ground logistics are not easy because this is not a normal operation, so it means they will have a challenge and take care of challenges if someone is delayed, transport is not good in Wuhan and they have to give themselves time for that. But as far as we are concerned, everything is on course.”

Infographic of confirmed cases in South Africa:

Workers at the ranch

Member of inter-ministerial team Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma says workers at the ranch will be getting a risk allowance.

Dlamini-Zuma has assured the public that the workers will also be provided with the necessary protective wear during the three-week quarantine period.

“Generally it wasn’t like they were unhappy, they just wanted clarification on a few issues,”

Motorists have expressed concern about what they say is a lack of communication regarding the closure of the R101 road outside Polokwane in Limpopo ahead of the repatriation of South Africans from the Chinese city of Wuhan.

The stretch of the road between Polokwane and Mokopane has been shut down. The Ranch Hotel and Resort which is the quarantine location has also a no-go area.

Some of the motorists say they are not happy about the closure of the road.

In the video below, Vuyani Green reports on the special cabinet meeting called to discuss the coronavirus pandemic:

Government warning

Government has sent a strong warning to members of the public not to try to access the coronavirus quarantine centre at the Ranch Hotel.

Mkhize told the media that the area will be under the military and police guard for the duration of the quarantine period.

“A decision has now been made that this site is the one that is being used, there is an agreement signed with the owners of this particular place. There is also been work that has been done with the staff, and all that has been properly done, negotiated and put behind us.”

VIDEO: Zweli Mkhize explains how the quarantine area was chosen: 

Additional reporting by Risha-Maduray and Michael Makungo