Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced at a media conference in Johannesburg on Sunday that the evacuation of these 151 South Africans is now their top priority.
South Africans currently trapped in Wuhan, China, could be back home in a week.
The Covid-19 virus broke out in Wuhan in December and the city’s residents have since been isolated from the outside world.
Cyril Ramaphosa ordered last week that these South Africans should be brought back. Mkhize’s spokesperson Lwazi Maniz said the mandate to bring people back was already given on Wednesday.
Mkhize confirmed that all 151 tested negative for Covid-19.
South Africans who want to return to their country of birth must sign a contract in which they agree to spend up to 21 days in quarantine here and must have passports.
Mkhize explains that the South Africans will all be on one isolated flight and that they will be brought back with the help of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation and the South African National Defense Force.
Mkhize says the necessary medical personnel will be on board the plane should anyone become ill during the flight.
He did not want to specify at which airport the plane will land, but said “it will not be a busy one”.
The landing area will be blocked off and the South Africans, as well as the staff with whom they have been in contact, will be quarantined immediately.
Mkhize says they have not yet identified an area for the quarantine zone. “It will be far from any high-risk areas and their interactions with the outside world will be limited. We will also limit their interaction with each other, ”says Mkhize.
South Africans who fall ill in the quarantine zone will be immediately put in isolation and tested for Covid-19.
“If they test positive, they will be transferred to the nearest designated hospital for treatment,” says Mkhize.
After the first 14 days in quarantine, they will be tested. After this, they and their families will receive counseling and then they are free to go home.
See the full announcement below on SABC News: