South Africa: 'Unprecedented' Military Evacuation of 151 South Africans From Wuhan to Take Place Within Days

The city of Wuhan (file photo).
analysis

The South African government will launch an unprecedented and major military-style operation to safely evacuate at least 151 South Africans who have been stranded in Wuhan, the Chinese city at the epicentre of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), which may become a global pandemic. The number of those seeking evacuation is rising rapidly.

Strict measures are being taken to ensure evacuees from Wuhan, China do not infect each other, or anyone else, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, and other ministers and officials emphasised at a media briefing on Sunday, 1 March 2020.

He told Daily Maverick the operation about to be undertaken was "unprecedented" for South Africa. The coronavirus disease (Covid-19) evacuation mission would start within seven to 10 days of the directive which Cabinet gave the government on 26 February 2020 to start preparing to repatriate the South Africans.

The operation is to be led by the South African National Defence Force in cooperation with the Department of International Relations and Cooperation.

A multi-disciplinary medical team will fly to Wuhan to ensure pre- and inflight screening and medical care, Mkhize said. If any of the South Africans did not meet the...

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