Don’t go to Wuhan, Chinese embassy requests South African travellers
South Africa has been conducting routine temperature screening for all international travellers.
The SARS outbreak killed nearly 300 people in Hong Kong in 2003, leaving a profound psychological impact on one of the most densely populated places on earth (AFP Photo/DALE DE LA REY)
The Cinese embassy has requested South Africans not to go to Coronavirus-stricken Wuhan for the time being because of its infectious nature. Those already in China have also been advised against flying back to South Africa.
“After the outbreak, the Ministry of Education of China has required the education management departments of foreign students in universities in Wuhan and other cities in China to immediately launch emergency response plans and take effective measures to ensure the health of foreign students, including South African students. It is hoped that the parents can tell the South African students in China to actively cooperate with the university, strictly abide by relevant regulations, and work together to effectively prevent and control the epidemic,” said the embassy in a statement.
China says it has adopted strict preventive measures such as temperature screening at airports.
By 23 January, 830 confirmed cases of new coronavirus-related pneumonia and 25 deaths had been reported. Two cases were confirmed in Hong Kong; two in Macao; one in Taiwan; three in Thailand (two of which have been cured); one in Japan (already cured); one in the ROK; one in the United States; two in Vietnam and one in Singapore.
The department of international relations and cooperation (Dirco) also announced that the country has been conducting routine temperature screening for all international travellers and enhanced surveillance of all travellers from Asia, especially China.
Though the World Health Organisation did not recommend any travel restriction to the country, it, however, cautioned travellers against animal contact. It also encouraged travellers to practice good hand hygiene and cough etiquette in order to reduce the risk of infection with respiratory viruses.
These are some of the safety measures travellers should follow:
- Avoiding close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections
- Practice frequent hand-washing, especially after direct contact with ill people or their environment
- Avoid visiting markets where live animals are sold.
- Travellers with symptoms of acute respiratory infection should practice cough etiquette (maintain distance, cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing and wash hands).
- Health practitioners should provide to travellers information to reduce the general risk of acute respiratory infections, via travel health clinics, travel agencies, conveyance operators and at points of entry. Travellers should also be encouraged to self-report if they feel ill.
- In case of symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness before, during or after travel, the traveller must seek medical attention and share travel history with their health care provider.
(Compiled by Vhahangwele Nemakonde)