Disaster as South African students return from Wuhan, China without being tested for coronavirus


Some South African students trapped in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the corona virus outbreak, have now opted to stay behind.

Some of the 16 Capricorn TVET students who returned from China on Friday, have denied being tested for the coronavirus and quarantined prior to flying back to South Africa.

The Limpopo Health Department earlier said the students had tested negative for COVID-19 and that there was no need to quarantine them in a state facility.

The 16 are among the 29 students from three colleges across the country, who have completed a two-year construction internship in China.

One of them, who has opted to remain anonymous, however says she’s worried that they might have been exposed to the virus while they were travelling through three busy airports.

“When I woke up I saw news that we were quarantined and tested in China and they will further assist us with the self-quarantine, those kind of things they really upset me. Because the truth is not only did the students from Capricorn College fly down, no. We were 29 students, there were other colleges who also did not get the same treatment that we got, so what about those students from another college and the other 10 from another, what about them?”

The mother of two other students says she is concerned about the health of her family members.

“My question; what about my family? We only have one house in my home and remember when I touch something; I have to go to the toilet. We don’t have a backroom whereby they can keep me there and lock me up. I’m not saying I have the virus; I am not sure because coronavirus can incubate for 14 days without showing symptoms. I’ve suggested that my preference when we held a meeting with the department of health whether they can create something like a camp or they can keep us for this period of 14 days but they said they cannot do that, so who am I to question them further, who am I.”

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize meanwhile says some South African students trapped in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epi-centre of the corona virus outbreak, have now opted to stay instead of joining the team that will be repatriated soon.

The students are virus free, but are in self-quarantine.

The South African National Defence Force has been tasked with repatriating the 184 South Africans from Wuhan.

Originally, 150 people indicated that they wanted to return home but this number increased to 184.

It’s not clear how many South African students have changed their minds about being repatriated.

Addressing the media in Pietermaritzburg, Mkhize said they would only repatriate those who wanted to return home.


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