South Africans must be motivated by the fact that the over 100 students who were repatriated from China’s Wuhan city have now been declared healthy and are reunited with their families. These are the words of President Cyril Ramaphosa as he officiated over a ceremony to release the 114 students to finally go to their homes two weeks after being evacuated from Wuhan, China's then epicentre of COVID-19 or coronavirus.
Ramaphosa was speaking at The Ranch Hotel just outside Polokwane in Limpopo, where he also declared the resort a “green zone”, which means it is not contaminated with the coronavirus.
“Everybody that had been quarantined here has now been declared fit and healthy. You do not have the coronavirus and we welcome that. The military and police officers who took care of you as well as the staff here have also been cleared," said Ramphosa in his address to the 114 students.
The students, who were in lockdown back in China, before their two-week quarantine in the Limpopo capital, will now join their families and the rest of the country for 18 more days of lockdown as the country observes a three-week lockdown imposed by the President as part of efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Ramaphosa told the group that the lockdown was a necessary inconvenience.
“It is sad that we came for you when you were in lockdown in Wuhan, brought you here for quarantining and now are releasing you into another lockdown. I am sorry about that, but I promise you this is necessary. It is the only way. Wuhan has turned the tide against the virus and even China itself. The USA and Italy are the epicentres of the world now. It's clear that a lockdown is the best way of dealing with the virus," said the president.
Chairperson of Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Health, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, commended Ramaphosa and the Inter-Ministerial Committee’s leadership for the way they handled the evacuation and quarantine of the Wuhan group.
“We thank our citizens who have been repatriated from Wuhan, because their compliance with the department’s protocols removed any element of panic and anxiety among South African citizens.
“We also thank the government of Limpopo and the citizens in the province, more so the staff members of the Ranch Hotel, who subjected themselves to be part of the quarantine, for their understanding under these difficult times,” said Dhlomo.