Travellers from SA urged to shun epicentre of coronavirus
THE Embassy of China in Pretoria has urged South Africans to avoid travelling to China’s central city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the current coronavirus epidemic which had killed at least 56 people by late yesterday.
“Friends from South Africa are requested not to go to Wuhan for the time being, and South African friends in Wuhan now should not leave the city or return to SA at this moment,” the diplomatic mission said.
The embassy said there were designated and back-up hospitals for the treatment of the pneumonia caused by the new coronavirus in Wuhan and other places across China, and an effective response programme had been formulated.
“If there is a suspected illness, the person can contact the local medical institution as soon as possible to seek medical treatment and receive treatment in time.”
The diplomatic mission said a large number of South African students who are studying in China, especially in Wuhan, were deeply worried about the epidemic.
“We fully understand it and hope that friends from South Africa and other countries could believe in the Chinese government and people who will make every effort to ensure the health and safety of each and every foreigner in China, especially the international students.”
The embassy said it would keep South Africans informed on the massive fight launched by Beijing, together with international partners, to manage and fend off the dangerous coronavirus.
“To win the battle against this unexpected epidemic requires the concerted efforts of the international community. We are ready to share information on epidemic detection, investigation and risk assessment with other countries in a timely manner, and unite international medical forces to carry out vaccine research and development,” the embassy said.
“We are also committed to strengthening joint prevention and control co-operation with African countries including South Africa, so as to strictly prevent epidemic import, and jointly maintain global and African public health security.”
The diplomatic mission also urged individuals to check the official website of the National Health Commission of the People’s Republic of China for daily updates on the epidemic.
The epidemic of new coronavirus infections originated from and (is) concentrated in Wuhan City of Hubei Province. The embassy said that because of the infectious nature of the epidemic, the Wuhan Municipal Government “has adopted the strictest entry and exit control including temporarily closing public transportation to and from Wuhan”.
On Thursday, South Africa’s Ministry of Health said it had measures in place to detect, manage and contain any cases of coronavirus should it come to the country’s shores.
Assuring South Africans that there was nothing to fear, it said no cases had been reported so far.
“Port health professionals routinely conduct temperature screening for all international travellers. However, due to the current risk of importation of inadvertent cases of 2019-nCoV from Wuhan City, China, port health authorities have enhanced surveillance of all travellers from Asia, especially China.
“Fortunately, OR Tambo International Airport is the only port of entry for all flights from Asia,” the ministry said.
It said the provinces had activated outbreak response teams and were on high alert to detect and manage inadvertent cases that may arrive in the country.
The ministry said there were no restrictions on travel to China, adding that the World Health Organisation had also not recommended any restriction on travel or trade.
A WORKER wearing a hazardous materials suit takes the temperature of a passenger at the entrance to a subway station in Beijing yesterday. The coronavirus accelerated its spread in China, prompting the Embassy of China in Pretoria to urge South Africans to avoid travelling to Wuhan, the epicentre of the epidemic. |