The Ranch in Polokwane to serve as quarantine site

The Ranch in Polokwane to serve as quarantine site

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has announced The Ranch Resort in Polokwane as the site where the South Africans returning from Wuhan will be quarantined.

The Ranch Resort in Polokwane
Facebook: The Ranch Resort

President Cyril Ramaphosa directed that the South Africans stuck in the coronavirus epicentre be brought back home.

They are expected back in South Africa on Friday.

READ: Wuhan repatriation flight leaving SA tonight

The team, comprising of government officials and members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) left OR Tambo International Airport on Tuesday.

A total of 122 South Africans have chosen to be repatriated from Wuhan.

Mkhize said it will only serve as a quarantine site for observation purposes and not an isolation site.

“The repatriation was done as a humanitarian act as these citizens have been quarantined in China after the virus broke out.

"The families then requested to Department of International Relations that they are brought back after having spent weeks in quarantine.”

Three areas were shortlisted, including Thaba Nchu in the Free State, but the SANDF chose The Ranch as it fulfilled all the necessary specifications.

"The army was not sure about the size of the airport (In Thaba Nchu) and the army wasn't sure it could the size of the aircraft.

ALSO READ: Gauteng coronavirus patient in critical condition

"The second one was an area outside KwaZulu-Natal called Itala Game Lodge. The problem was the rooms - there's quite a lot of chalets that are close to one another. The other problem was the nearest airport that could carry the airport was too far.

"They found this one (The Ranch) to be ideal. A decision has now been made that this site will be used. There's an agreement signed with the owners of the place. There's also an agreement with the staff".

Mkhize reiterated that the citizen coming home have not tested positive for the disease.

"They are not criminals. They are not sick. They are not patients. The panic, anxiety, anger and discrimination against people who come back or are ill is almost worse than the virus."

Mkhize also announced there are now 16 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in South Africa and not 17 as earlier announced.

A 32-year-old man from the Free State, who was announced as the country’s first locally transmitted case, has now tested negative.  

"This particular patient - whilst has been unwell - we want to indicate that the results are taken as negative after all the verifications have been done,” said Mkhize.

"We will in future just make sure that these kinds of lapses do not happen again.”

Mkhize added that the testing for COVID-19 will be decentralised from the National Health Laboratory Service (NICD), to include provincial and private laboratory services.

The committee also released the test results of Limpopo students who are back in the province after they had travelled to China who all tested negative.

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