Wits cancels medical classes over coronavirus scare

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Wits University has cancelled some medical school classes after it was found that a student came into contact with a person who has coronavirus.

The student has since been quarantined and the university says the student has not displayed any symptoms of the virus.

Wits university spokesperson, Shirona Patel says, “The student has been screened and the test results are expected later today. However, as a precautionary measure, the faculty has cancelled the clinical activities scheduled for students’ class today. The university will keep staff, students and others updated as soon as we have further information. All other university activities continue as normal.”

Infographic of confirmed cases in South Africa:

Number of confirmed cases decreases from 17 to 16

Minister Mkhize has retracted earlier reports of a coronavirus case in the Free State and has announced that the 14 Limpopo students who returned from China recently have all tested negative.

Mkhize has apologised for the wrong statistics following an earlier reported case in the Free State, reducing the number of people infected in the country from 17 to 16.

About 122 South Africans are expected to land on Saturday.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize says if any of the South Africans who are going to be repatriated from the Chinese city of Wuhan is diagnosed or has symptoms of coronavirus, they will not be allowed on the plane.

The army has identified the Ranch Hotel and Resort in Polokwane as a suitable quarantine area for those returning from China.

The number of coronavirus cases in South Africa is now 16, with no reported deaths.

More than 128 000 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in 118 countries across the globe, with at least 4600 deaths.

Speaking on Morning Live, Mkhize says, “We have said that those who would have been to hospital and were treated  and diagnosed positive or are having symptoms, all those will not get on to the flight, they will need to meet with the Chinese health authorities so that they can get the necessary attention. Only the ones that will come in are those that have no symptoms, have no record of having been diagnosed positive with the coronavirus.”

Repatriation of South Africans 

Mkhize says the South Africans who will be repatriated from Wuhan are not sick. “The idea of getting them to come back South Africa had nothing to do with concerns about the health system in China, nothing to do with the fact that they have been sick or anything like that, it was really on a humanitarian basis.”

He says there are three phases to the repatriation of the South Africans from Wuhan.

“The first one being that evacuation which means getting the aircraft, getting a crew that must go into Wuhan, get the South Africans and bring them back. The second one was the quarantine, which was about ensuring that we could observe for the 14 days to see whether any of those South Africans could have by any chance got an infection and therefore we would subject to tests and so on. The third one is the reintegration in society; this one basically means that we would have been able to confirm that the individuals are free of the infections and are free to join their families. ”

In the video below, Zweli Mkhize speaks about the repatriation route: