Repa­tri­ated cit­i­zens need care, dig­nity

Pretoria News - - OPINION -

WITH more than 100 South Africans ex­pected to re­turn from Wuhan, China, later this week, crit­i­cism has been raised about the cost and need to repa­tri­ate these fel­low cit­i­zens.

Wuhan, the epi­cen­tre of the coro­n­avirus out­break, has been in lock­down for weeks as the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment seeks to fur­ther con­trol the virus which has spread world­wide.

One can only imag­ine the trauma and dis­tress faced by these South Africans so far from home amid a state of un­cer­tainty. None of those re­turn­ing are sick and the Depart­ment of Health has as­sured the coun­try they do not have Covid-19.

Para­noia and panic has spread as gov­ern­ments across the globe put in mea­sures to con­trol the spread of the virus – can­celling sport­ing or public events and stop­ping flights from coun­tries where the risk of con­tract­ing the virus is high.

The panic has also con­tributed to big­otry and prej­u­dice with nu­mer­ous at­tacks be­ing re­ported in Europe and the US. The repa­tri­ated cit­i­zens will be quar­an­tined for an ini­tial pe­riod of 21 days.

More peo­ple are con­scious about their hy­giene and while hand sani­tis­ers are rec­om­mended, wa­ter and soap can also pre­vent the spread of the virus.

Fight­ing the spread comes at a cost, but hu­man­ity must pre­vail.

Those be­ing repa­tri­ated de­serve their right to pri­vacy, and also to care and dig­nity.

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