China’s ambassador to South Africa, Lin Songtian, has confirmed that none of those waiting to be repatriated are positive with coronavirus.
Lin told media in Pretoria on Friday that South Africans awaiting repatriation were part of China’s quarantine programmes, and the group will be subjected to screenings before leaving China.
He said the Chinese government would offer all the support needed to ensure they return home safely.
Lin said the Chinese government understood the distress from the concerned people, who may want to be with their families during this time.
“I am proud to say there are no confirmed cases coming from China to South Africa. Why? We make sure that whoever comes to this country must be safe,” he said.
He said screenings were taking place from all airports in China to ensure that there were no slip-ups.
To make sure of this, Lin said everyone coming from China to South Africa now needed his approval directly.
He added that the virus was now not only coming from China alone, but from other countries such as Italy. This meant the global community should now be on high alert.
On Thursday, South Africa confirmed its first case of the coronavirus.
A 38-year-old man from Hilton, KwaZulu-Natal, tested positive for Covid-19 and was among a group of 10, including his wife, who had recently returned from Italy.
Lin said they were willing to offer support to South Africa and were already pleased with the way the Ministry of Health had been working closely with China.
“I’m confident that your government has a very professional programme to deal with this case,” he said.
He said good quarantine programmes were a necessity and he was confident of South Africa’s plans to stop the virus from spreading.
Lin added: “We are ready to share whatever we have learnt, whatever we have in our capacity. For South Africa, we have nothing to hide.”