As South Africa prepares to evacuate 132 citizens quarantined in Wuhan, China, it has now been confirmed that two South African citizens who worked as crew on the Japanese cruise ship, Diamond Princess, have tested positive for the coronavirus.
There were actually 12 South African crew members aboard the Diamond Princess, and earlier this week our health ministry was informed about the two positive tests.
News24 reports that the pair are currently being treated in Japan, and are “asymptomatic”, as in showing no symptoms.
This comment via the health ministry:
“At this stage, it is most appropriate that the COVID-19 confirmed South African citizens should be treated in Japan until they are fully recovered from the virus and are no longer contagious before they travel further.
“For the remaining 10, they will be permitted to disembark the ship as per the instructions of their employer after they test negative for coronavirus, be subjected to a further 14-day quarantine in Japan, then further tested thereafter to determine if they may be cleared for travel.
“South Africa will continue to monitor the situation closely and maintain contact with the government of Japan in order to keep the public informed.”
It must have been harrowing being aboard the cruise ship, which was quarantined for more than two weeks, until those who tested negative were released on February 19.
Of the more than 3 700 people initially on board, 705 have thus far tested positive for COVID-19, including at least 15o crew members.
The first case of the coronavirus in sub-Saharan Africa has also been recorded, with an Italian man in Nigeria testing positive.
A real-time tracker of the virus’ spread by Johns Hopkins has, at the time of writing, 83 719 confirmed cases of the virus and 2 858 deaths.
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