China’s ambassador to South Africa, Lin Songtian, reassured communities on Friday that the thousands of South African students studying at various institutions in China are protected and safe.

“A total of 27 out of millions of foreigners in China have been diagnosed with the new coronavirus (COVID-19). 

Three people have already been healed and hospitalized, ”Songtian said at a press conference in Cape Town. 

“Two people have died and their countries have been notified. A total of 22 people receive medical treatment. There are about 500,000 foreign students in China. ”

Songtian said more than 80,000 of these students are from Africa and 5,000 are located in Wuhan. There are about 3,000 South African students in China, including 165 in Hubei Province. So far, no case of the coronavirus has been confirmed among South African students. ”

Several South Africans received bursaries from the Chinese Embassy in South Africa last year to study in China, specifically in science and technology.

Songtian also expressed his gratitude to Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa, the government, political organizations and businesses that have offered their support since the virus broke out.

“It is currently the safest, cheapest and best decision for foreigners to stay in China at present and adhere strictly to China’s prevention and control measures and instructions. It is unsafe, expensive and dangerous for foreigners to return to their homelands, ”he added. 

“They could possibly bring the virus back together and be a threat to the health of their family, friends and fellow South Africans.”