Health Minister, Dr. Zweli Mkhize, says the South African National Defence Force has been roped in to help detect any signs of the coronavirus at South African ports of entry.
This after 213 people died and nearly 10 000 were infected with the coronavirus.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the virus a global emergency. Close to 100 cases have been reported in 18 other countries, but no deaths.
Most cases have emerged in people who have travelled from the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the outbreak began.
Scientists across the globe are racing to develop a vaccine to help stem the outbreak of the virus – which causes a severe acute respiratory infection.
Briefing the media, at the NICD in Johannesburg, Mkhize says there are still no cases of the virus in South Africa.
“We did consider the full ramifications of repatriation and emergency evacuations and realised it is an exercise to measure the risks versus the benefits, so we will consider the situation on a day by day basis and respond as we think it is appropriate. What remains a key principle is limiting the movement. We are very sensitive to the anxieties of South Africans and their families and we wish to assure them that we are prepared to respond appropriately as the situation develops.”
Meanwhile, he says South African students will only be evacuated from China if the department finds it necessary to do so.
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