The Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) has encouraged South Africans to only make use of bona fide and legitimate information sources regarding the coronavirus.
It has reiterated that there are still no reported cases of the epidemic in South Africa.
GCIS says the number of South Africans who will be repatriated from Chinese city of Wuhan, which is considered the epicentre of the outbreak, has risen to 184. Only seven South Africans have opted to remain in the city.
An aircraft to bring them back has been secured.
The group will be screened before they depart for home and will be kept in quarantine for about three weeks upon arrival, as a precaution.
GCIS says negotiations are still under way regarding a quarantine venue.
Meanwhile, two South African crew members aboard a passenger cruise liner docked at Yokohama in Japan have now tested negative and are expected to return home soon.
SA ready for coronavirus
Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize says preparations for the repatriation of South Africans from China are progressing well.
Ahead of the debate on the disease on Thursday in the National Assembly, the Health Minister told Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Health that South Africa will be up to the task, should the country face an outbreak of the virus.
“I think it is important that we send a strong message that there are no people who are infected, but of course, if there are people who are infected, we will be able to treat them. Our level of readiness is that we can treat any patient that can land in this country and we have every province ready to treat such people. We have upped the game in the major ports with a screening, (and) protective clothing for the staff.”
In the video below, Minister Mkhize says South Africa is taking necessary precautions in major ports of the country:
Family expresses concern
A family of a woman trapped in another area of the coronavirus outbreak in China has expressed grave concerns over the government’s decision to only repatriate South Africans in Wuhan.
Rami Ramalepe says her sister, who is at Shandong Province in China, has been sick and they are hoping she did not contract the coronavirus.
“Our concern basically is with the Department of Health, together with Dirco (Department of International Relations and Cooperation). We are not really getting the proper response. There are no facilities where she could get tested. We are scared that when she arrives she might infect us with coronavirus or other diseases because she will be traveling.”
“She actually raised concerns because there are people infected in the same province where she is. From the South African government, there’s no assistance that we got and it’s very disappointing. It seems as if they do not have plans in place to actually assist all travellers from China.”
In the video below, SABC News Correspondent Bruce Harrison gives an update on the spread of the virus in Asia:
Below is an infographic on government’s repatriation plans: