The president on Wednesday assured South Africans that the the military who have embark on the journey to Wuhan the epicenter of the deadly coronavirus in China to repatriate South Africans there back to the country are not sick of the disease.

While speaking he quickly to dismissed claims that the rescue operation would open South Africa up to further coronavirus infections. Ramaphosa added that, in addition to tests already conducted in the citizens in China, a strict quarantine programme would be instituted for all involved with the evacuation, including SANDF personnel partaking in the operation. Ramaphosa said to the soldiers:

“Once you’ve obeyed the order, you know very well as soldiers you must comply with the dictates of the military and on your way back to stay with students for the entire quarantine period.

The people we are bringing back are all healthy and not sick, we need to make that clear to the entire nation. We are not fetching disease, we are bringing back healthy young people whose parents have reached out to us. Many of us are parents.”

The coronavirus outbreak, which originated in Wuhan in December 2019, has spread to more than 119 countries, infecting 119 000 people which has resulted in 4 299 deaths (at the time of publishing).

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