Minister of Health Dr 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 group that will be repatriated soon.

The students are virus-free but are in self-quarantine. The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) had been tasked with repatriating 184 South Africans.

However, it is unclear how many will now be coming back home.

“We have also started getting indications some of the students are pulling out they say no, we don’t want to come back. I saw a note from one of them who was saying when we wanted to come back the problem was in China. The problem is all over the world now we don’t want to come back to South Africa and start afresh. Maybe there’ll be a lockdown so the discussion is open. It’s not a big issue for us, we’ll bring those South Africans who want to come back we’ll keep the others in China,” Mkhize told the media in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday.

In the video below, SABC News speaks to Mbali Gcabashe who is a South African national in Wuhan:

Meanwhile, Mkhize says their efforts to locate all the people who have been in contact with the country’s three confirmed cases of the deadly coronavirus have started to yield positive results.

A couple from Hilton, outside Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal, as well as a woman in Gauteng have tested positive for the virus.

They were all part of a group of 10 that had travelled to Italy and returned to South Africa on 01  March.

The couple’s children have tested negative, but will remain in self-quarantine.

“We have ascertained who the people are that would have got into contact with the first patient since he got from Dubai, up to the time he went to the doctor. We’ve got the whole list – those who were in the plane, we’ve actually picked up information from the aircraft. We are tracing them all and those who were met outside the plane from the airport to the house, we’ve got that whole list, so we tracing all of them together,” says Mkhize.

In the video below, the third coronavirus case is confirmed by the Health Minister:

Calming fears

The South African Red Cross in KwaZulu-Natal says its trained teams are ready to go into communities to create awareness on hygiene and calm any fears in the wake of the coronavirus.

“We’ve had a workshop and we’ve started training our volunteers. Our volunteers being on the ground what they are going to be doing. They are going to be spreading the information now in the communities. We do not want to cause any panic so the moment you give people information that way you are also controlling panic.  Because if they are aware of how to control or how to protect themselves then that should calm the situation,” says Red Cross acting provincial leader, Siyabonga Hlatswayo.

Infographic below, contains important information on coronavirus: