As nations across the world take drastic measures to protect citizens against the deadly Corona virus, there’s still no talk of travel restrictions by South African authorities.
While China appears to be turning the tide against the virus, European nations have experienced a spike in infection with Italy being the most affected. Spokesperson for the Department of International Relations Lunga Ngqengelele referred inquiries to the Government Communications and Information System’s Deputy Director Phumla Williams who declined to comment saying “government will only comment further upon the return of our people from China”, referring to scores of expats being brought home from Corona infested Wuhan city in the Asian nation’s Hubei province.
This despite evidence showing all recently infected people had travelled to Europe.
US President Donald Trump says the EU’s response to the virus has been rather clumsy and unacceptable and has since imposed travel restrictions on this key US ally.
Meanwhile, movement into and out of South Africa continues as usual. In fact as you read this report, President Cyril Ramaphosa and International Relations Minister are currently on a diplomatic mission to the Democratic Republic of Congo, merely a day after the unstable country reported its first case. A Belgian man has tested positive for the virus while in the DRC.
SA Tourism has discouraged travel restrictions saying the sector has already suffered massive losses as a result of the virus. Its CEO Sisa Ntshona told You FM current affairs programme News Hour on Wednesday “travel restrictions are not necessary at this stage as government was doing enough to protect citizens against the virus”.
Ntshona said the industry was adhering to the highest levels of hygiene and regularly advised clients to keep doing this. So far 17 South Africans have contracted the virus while scores others who have been in contact with them are being sought for screening.