Special Cabinet meeting called to discuss coronavirus

Members of the Cabinet are expected to meet this weekend to discuss the coronavirus.
Members of the Cabinet are expected to meet this weekend to discuss the coronavirus.
Image: Jozef Polc/123rf.com

The South African government has called a special Cabinet meeting to discuss the coronavirus, which has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation.

The meeting was expected to be held on Sunday in Tshwane, the GCIS said in a statement.

“Cabinet reassures all in SA that the country remains on high alert. Every precaution is being taken to safeguard the country against any surge of the Covid-19,” minister in the presidency, Jackson Mthembu was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, the group of South Africans who are being repatriated from the Wuhan in China where the virus was first detected, are expected to land on South African soil later on Friday.

As of March 13 2020, the coronavirus had infected more than 130,000 people and killed more than 4,700 worldwide. The symptoms of Covid-19 can be similar to those of the common cold or flu. Symptoms that warrant further testing include shortness of breath, a high persistent fever, and being unable to eat or drink.

“Upon their return, they will be quarantined for a minimum of 14 days, to a maximum of 21 days. During this period, the movement of people and goods in and out of the quarantine zone will be restricted,” the statement from government read.

The group will be kept at the Protea Hotel's Ranch Resort outside Polokwane in Limpopo.

“We strongly caution people against attempting to make any physical contact or attempting to visit the quarantine zone. Once the quarantine period ends and tests confirm no underlying Covid-19 virus infection in our compatriots, they will be released back into their respective communities,” the government said.

None of the 122 South Africans are believed to have the coronavirus.

They will be quarantined along with the plane crew and medics who are on the mission to fetch them from Wuhan.

The coronavirus is considered most dangerous for the elderly and those with underlying health conditions. Patients from Spain, Italy and Denmark who have recovered from the virus share their experiences.

The number of confirmed positive cases in the country was on Friday morning still at 16.

The health ministry had initially placed the number of positive infections at 17 on Thursday but later downgraded the number, after a Free State man who had earlier tested positive for the virus later tested negative.

Meanwhile, government has called for the privacy of the 16 patients to be respected.

“We appeal to all to respect the privacy of Covid-19 patients and their families. We also strongly caution against the dissemination of any false information related to the virus so as to prevent the spread of fear, stigma and discrimination within our society,” Mthembu said.

Cape Town International Airport began installing banners and hand sanitisers in its international terminal on March 12 2020, attempting to prevent any potential spread of the coronavirus in SA. Some South Africans believe the virus is being taken too seriously, while others think it could cause chaos.

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