Trav­ellers from SA urged to shun epi­cen­tre of coro­n­avirus

Pretoria News - - FRONT PAGE - JONISAYI MAROMO

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.

MARK SCHIEFELBE­IN AP Photo

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. |

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