Some of the South Africans who were evacuated from the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the coronavirus outbreak emerged, say they are grateful about how government handled their repatriation.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has officially released them from a two-week quarantine period at the Ranch Resort near Polokwane, in Limpopo.

The president has reiterated that the repatriated citizens have tested negative for COVID-19 and are displaying no symptoms.

Student Bukiwe Ginyane says the situation in Wuhan was difficult and they are pleased to be re-united with their families.

“We were always indoors, we always had fear, so you always have to be alert all the times and also to be afraid to run out of food all the times as I mentioned. You feel lonely, you feel stressed and you don’t know what to do; at the same time you don’t want to tell your family how you feeling because they will be more stressed than you. So we are very grateful to be home. We know that we are going to go to another quarantine of which it’s okay, as long we are with our family.”

Ginyane has advised other South Africans to obey the regulations imposed during the nationwide lockdown period.

”My advice to South Africans is to stay at home please. This thing is real. I see young people going wherever they want to go because they say ‘I’m not afraid of the virus’. But remember you have you grandmothers, you have your parents whose immune system is not that strong to fight the virus. You might survive, but somebody else might not survive and infected by you.”

In the video below, South Africans repatriated from Wuhan express their gratitude:

Lockdown benefits

President Ramaphosa has urged the group to spread the message about the benefits of a lockdown in the fight against COVID-19.

“You are the best campaigners for a lockdown because you more than anyone else has seen that a lockdown does work and I’d like you to spread the message to South Africans. I am going to be talking about you tonight telling the nation about you and saying you are the true evidence bearers of what a lockdown can do because Wuhan was able to reduce the level of infections because they had a lockdown.”

The president has called on them to take all necessary precautions as they are released into society.

“As a nation, the government of our country cares and that is why we brought our children and their families home. Now we are ready to take them back to their families and re-join them. We truly thank you. I want you to go and rest and be with your families. Take extra precautions to be safe, ensure that we have social distancing and to continue washing our hands.”

The President’s call comes as some members of the public are still not adhering to the restrictions.

He has postponed his Sunday night planned address.

South Africa has 1 187 cases of the infection, with one death. Thirty one people have recovered.

On the global front, the death toll is nearly at 31 000 with over 669 000 confirmed cases. – Additional reporting by Risha Maduray. 

In the video below, President Ramphosa thanks the Ranch Resort employees for taking care of the repatriates: