COVID-19: South Africa repatriates citizens from China as Ghana and Gabon implement travel ban

THE South African Government has sent a plane to Wuhan, China’s  epicentre of coronavirus to repatriate over 120 of it’s citizens still in the city since the outbreak of the virus in December 2019.

News24 reported that the SA plane which would make a stop in the Phillippines before heading to China is scheduled to arrive in the African country on Friday with passengers and cargoes.

Cyril Ramaphosa, President of South Africa in a letter addressed to the Parliament revealed that the mission would cost almost $1.6milion and include 151 members of the SA National Defence Force.

“I have full confidence that our soldiers will execute this mission successfully. This is a task to bring back our children from China,” Ramaphosa said.

“Go with speed, with God and bring our children back home. Thank you very much for having taken on this mission,” Ramaphosa told the military and health officials departing for China at OR Tambo International Airport.

Instead of the repatriation of 180 persons who had originally indicated interest to return to South Africa, authorities say 122 are to be repatriated as the others dropped out and choose to “stay on at their respective commitments.”

Although none of the returnees has shown any signs of coronavirus infection, the SA authorities say they would be subjected to a 21-day quarantine period.

Although ZHOU Pingjian, Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria in February  had said no Nigerian citizen residing in Wuhan city has contracted the novel coronavirus, the Nigerian government is yet to make any effort towards the repatriation of its citizens in the city  



    Meanwhile, Gabon and Ghana within the week have suspended foreign trips by public officials as a measure of combating the spread of the virus. 

    Kenya has also restricted its athletes from leaving the country to participate in international events for the next month as a measure to prevent coronavirus spreading.

    “Following the global outbreak of the Covid-19 virus, the government has put in place measures to deal with the situation to safeguard the public and the country at large,” Kenya Sports Ministry said.

    “The ministry wishes to inform you that there will be no more travel for international events until further notice and notably for the next one month.”


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