President Cyril Ramaphosa has declared the Ranch Resort in Polokwane, Limpopo a green zone after a group of 112 South Africans repatriated from Wuhan, China, tested negative for COVID-19.
“We are now able to declare The Ranch a green zone because everybody who is in this facility has been found to be negative of the coronavirus,” said Ramaphosa.
Ramaphosa thanked the SAA cabin crew, embassy officials, Health Department, Home Affairs staff and members of the SA National Defence tasked with rescuing the students from Wuhan and ensuring they were properly treated at the quarantine facility in Polokwane.
Ramaphosa also met with the students and praised them for their discipline during the 14-day quarantine period at the facility.
“We are pleased that you are all negative. I had tears in my eyes when you disembarked from the plane and people of Limpopo welcomed you home. It was a moving experience,” said Ramaphosa.
“I want to extend my gratitude to each one of you individually. We are truly grateful. You are a true representation of what it is to be a South African. We spared no cost [in this operation]. To us the cost was not an issue. The logistical challenges were not an issue. We are delighted you came back home.
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said all repatriated South Africans tested negative for the virus and were now ready to go home.
The students are currently preparing to leave The Ranch Resort in order to be reunited with their families at various provinces including the Free State, Gauteng, Limpopo and North West.
South Africa’s number of confirmed coronavirus cases was at 1 187 on Sunday, after increasing from 1 170 on Friday evening.
Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, chairperson of Portfolio Committee on Health, commended Ramaphosa and the inter-ministerial committee’s leadership for the way in which South African citizens were successfully repatriated from Wuhan three weeks ago.
“We thank our citizens who have been
repatriated from Wuhan, because their compliance with the department’s
protocols removed any element of panic and anxiety among South African
citizens,” said Dhlomo.
“We also thank the government of Limpopo and the citizens in the province, more so the staff members of the Ranch Hotel, who subjected themselves to be part of the quarantine, for their understanding under these difficult times.”