The Limpopo Health Department has allayed fears of possible coronavirus infections in the province. This follows reports that 16 Capricorn TVET college students, who returned from a two-year internship programme in China, had not been thoroughly tested for COVID-19.
They were part of 29 interns from TVET colleges around the country, who returned last Friday from a Construction SETA internship.
The Department says it will be collaborating with the Social Development Department to find ways to isolate the students.
The 16 met with health officials upon their return and were placed on self-isolation for 14 days, due to fears that they might have Coronavirus.
Health MEC Phophi Ramathuba says they will be looking into ways to assist the students.
Ramathuba says: “There re some students who are raising genuine issues which we need to go deeper into them. Those issues are socioeconomic, like how do I self-isolate when I live in one room. Hence we will be talking to social development so that social workers can be dispersed to check each and everyone.”
MEC Ramathuba allays fears of possible COVID-19 in Limpopo
Ramathuba adds that they did not run tests for COVID-19 on the students as their screening results showed that there was no need for it.
“On Friday, when we were informed that they had arrived we followed the process and when we screen you if you’ve got symptoms we take swabs and take then to NICD. There was no need to do that as they were not having any symptoms.”
Some of the students have denied being tested for the coronavirus and quarantined prior to flying back to South Africa.
One of them, who has opted to remain anonymous, however, says she’s worried that they might have been exposed to the virus while they were travelling through three busy airports.
“When I woke up I saw the news that we were quarantined and tested in China and they will further assist us with the self-quarantine. Those kinds of things really upset me, because the truth is – not only did the students from Capricorn College fly down. No. We were 29 students, there were other colleges who also did not get the same treatment that we got. So what about those students from other colleges?”
SA students trapped in Wuhan
Meanwhile, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize says some South African students trapped in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, have now opted to stay instead of joining the team that will be repatriated soon.
The students are virus-free but are in self-quarantine.
The South African National Defence Force has been tasked with the repatriation process of the 184 South Africans from Wuhan.
Originally, 150 people indicated that they wanted to return home but this number has since increased to 184.
It’s not clear how many South African students have changed their minds about being repatriated.