President Cyril Ramaphosa has welcomed the 217 Cuban health experts that arrived in the country on Sunday night and will be offering support to curb the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

He says this follows a request he made to his Cuban counterpart, President Díaz Canel Bermúdez.

The group from Havana arrived shortly before midnight at the Waterkloof Air Force Base in Pretoria. They will be in quarantine before being deployed in different parts of South Africa.

The group consists of experts in the fields of epidemiology, biostatistics, and public health; healthcare technology engineers, and experts to provide technical assistance.

Healthcare technology engineers will provide support with repairing medical equipment and mining inventory.

The health professionals, who will boost the country’s response efforts to the coronavirus pandemic, were welcomed by senior government officials including the Defence Minister, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and International Relations Minister, Naledi Pandor.