South Africa will evacuate more than 100 of its nationals trapped in China’s city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, the presidency announced Thursday.
“President Cyril Ramaphosa has directed the repatriation of South African citizens from Wuhan city in Hubei province, China,” his office said in a statement.
The cabinet decided to bring back home 132 South Africans “after due consideration of the circumstances, and following several requests from the families of South Africans in the city”.
The COVID-19 epidemic has killed more than 2,800 people, mostly in China — where it first emerged in December — and infected more than 82,000 in around 50 countries.
The government estimates that there are 199 South Africans in Wuhan but “at this stage, 132 of them have expressed the desire to be repatriated”.
None of the South Africans there have been diagnosed with the deadly virus or shown any symptoms, it added.
But the returnees will be placed in quarantine for “21 days as an additional precautionary measure”, said the presidency.
It did not state when the evacuations would take place.
“These compatriots are currently living under lockdown conditions following the outbreak of the coronavirus.
Despite the virus fast spreading across the world, Africa has reported only two cases, in Egypt and Algeria.