A group of South Africans returned from the city, where the coronavirus outbreak was first recorded, on Saturday. They will be kept in quarantine at the Protea Hotel’s The Ranch Resort, 25km from Polokwane, for 21 days.
The flight crew, including the staff and members of SANDF and SAPS on the mission, are also expected to be quarantined for the period as a precautionary measure.
In the image, the letter is held by someone wearing gloves on what appears to be a parked aeroplane.
— Department of Health: COVID-19 (@COVID_19_ZA) March 14, 2020
The handwritten letter, on a torn piece of lined paper, directed to the SANDF and SAPS officials who travelled to China on the repatriation mission, says the author is “really happy to be home”, and that they have no words to express their gratitude.
“Can’t thank you enough for taking this beautiful huge risk. I’m sure some people in your families disagreed with your decision, but regardless of that you came to fetch us,” the letter reads.
“I personally don’t have words to thank all of you. We may not be able to pay back for this, but there’s someone above us [who] sees our work and bless [sic] us abundantly.”
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has over the past few weeks emphasised that the group were not sick and would be quarantined in the area to ensure they were safe from the virus.
South Africa currently has 24 positive cases of the coronavirus. The government said it was doing everything in its power to ensure that the virus is traced, prevented, and that those who are infected get cured.