01 February 2020
Statement by the Minister of Health Statement on the Coronavirus
The South African government wishes to assure all citizens that we are continuously monitoring all developments regarding the corona virus outbreak, not only in the country but worldwide. Information is being provided by the various stakeholders including other multilateral organisations such as the World Health Organisation (WHO). Therefore Government is kept abreast on all developments with regard to the multiple aspects of the effects of the spread of the Coronavirus.
We also want to confirm that as of today, we do not have any confirmed cases in the country. We nevertheless remain on high alert. We commit that people who present symptoms related to this virus will be thoroughly tested. We therefore plead with South Africans to cooperate with our health officials in this regard. We expect that there will be an increased and intense level of screening because of the alertness and vigilance of our staff.
We confirm that the embassy is in touch with our people in China who have reached out to it. We are also in constant contact with the Chinese authority. As it stands, no South African who is China has been reported to have contracted the virus.
When we were alerted of possible food shortages in Wahun, we intervened with the Chinese authority. We have now been assured that the Chinese government is addressing those challenges and they will ensure that there is sufficient supply of food.
We were also informed by the Chinese authorities that the South Africans who had moved out of Wahun earlier have been placed under quarantine so they can be properly screened. Once they have been cleared, they will be released as per the protocols adopted by the Chinese government in dealing with this outbreak. At this point, as a country we have not plans of any immediate evacuation.
We will continue to monitor this outbreak and all the developments. Our 24 hour emergency operational centre remains active and we are still monitoring the situation and there are no plans for immediate evacuation.
We emphasize that any affected South African can access the updates provided by the Embassy to the public, via its WeChat page and the Embassy has further opened a dedicated email to respond to the enquiries, namely: firstname.lastname@example.org. On the Embassy website and WeChat page akllso includes is various official Chinese websites and hotlines cater for a number of languages, including English. Lastly, the website of the China National Health Commission can be accessed for continuous updates on www.nhc.gov.cn.
We are also pleased that a South African company had volunteered to donate masks to the Chinese authorities given the increasing demand. The South Africa Government will facilitate the transportation of these supplies through close coordination with the Chinese authorities to ensure that they reach their respective destinations in China.
Enquiries: Popo Maja, Department of Health, +27725853219
ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH