SA man in China longs for home

The Citizen (KZN) - - News - Lock­down

A South African in China, who grad­u­ated last month, is sup­posed to be back home, but in­stead finds him­self trapped in the epi­cen­tre of the coro­n­avirus out­break.

Kamo­h­elo Taole from Bloem­fontein has been in China for six years, four of which he spent in Wuhan as an in­ter­na­tional eco­nom­ics and trade stu­dent at the Hubei Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy.

“We re­cently grad­u­ated in Jan­uary, and we were sup­posed to be home al­ready, but we can’t as the trans­port sys­tem is shut down,” Taole told News24 on Fri­day.

“No one can en­ter or exit Wuhan at this mo­ment, in­clud­ing the Chi­nese. The only way to leave this place is with the help of gov­ern­ment author­i­ties, by mak­ing plans with the gov­ern­ment of Wuhan.”

More than 630 peo­ple have died and at least 31 000 peo­ple in­fected by the virus that is be­lieved to have emerged from a mar­ket in Wuhan, AFP re­ported.

Taole, 28, said the area was un­der lock­down.

“Hon­estly, this ex­pe­ri­ence is ter­ri­fy­ing be­cause we are at the epi­cen­tre of the coro­n­avirus out­break,” he said.

“We un­der­stand that the lock­down is a safety mea­sure but it’s dam­ag­ing us men­tally be­cause we spend 24 hours in our rooms, seven days a week and that has been go­ing for more than two weeks now. So, you can imag­ine how in­tense this sit­u­a­tion is.”

Taole speaks to his par­ents every day and they are wor­ried about him.

He said he wanted to be evac­u­ated from the area as other in­ter­na­tional stu­dents had been.

“We are hop­ing to be as­sisted by our gov­ern­ment on this mat­ter,” he said.

At a re­cent press brief­ing, Health Min­is­ter Zweli Mkhize said there was no ev­i­dence to sup­port repa­tri­a­tion or emer­gency evac­u­a­tions of South African cit­i­zens in China.

“We have re­mained vig­i­lant on the de­vel­op­ment re­gard­ing the move­ment and be­hav­iour of the vi­ral in­fec­tion across the world and we con­tinue to en­gage with the in­ter­na­tional aca­demic fra­ter­nity to bet­ter un­der­stand how this virus be­haves,” Mkhize added.

– News24 Wire

Hon­estly, this ex­pe­ri­ence is ter­ri­fy­ing be­cause we are at the epi­cen­tre of the coro­n­avirus out­break.

Kamo­h­elo Taole

A South African man who was a stu­dent in China

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