- Two South Africans have tested positive for the coronavirus amid a global outbreak
- The citizens had been working onboard the Diamond Princess Cruise Ship
- The pair are currently being treated in Japan, where they will remain until they have fully recovered
Two South Africans have tested positive for the Covid-19 virus, commonly known as the coronavirus.
The health ministry released a statement confirming the infections on Friday:
"The South African government has been made aware by Japanese authorities through the South African embassy in Tokyo, that there were 12 South African crew members working on board the Diamond Princess Cruise Ship when it was affected by Covid-19."
The two patients will now be receiving treatment in Japan after contracting the virus:
"On 25 February 2020, we were informed by the Japanese authorities that two of these South Africans tested positive for Covid-19. They are currently being treated in Japan and the latest reports indicate that they are currently asymptomatic."
They will be held in Japan until they are fully recovered and no longer at risk of spreading the disease:
"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."
With the WHO warning of the potential spread, the remaining crew will be held in quarantine:
"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."
After the cruise ship had arrived in Yokohama it was discovered that a patient who had disembarked had tested positive for the virus.
This prompted a quarantine period onboard the ship that had 3 700 passengers, which ended on February 19.
The ministry confirmed that passengers are being tested and those who test negative have been transferred off the ship:
"The disembarkation process of unaffected passengers has been a phased approach whereby passengers are released after testing negative for Covid-19. The ship company has indicated that the disembarkation of passengers is a priority and that crew members will be allowed to disembark after all passengers have disembarked."
Briefly.co.za reported that the World Health Organisation has declared the epidemic a global health emergency, with a high likelihood it will spread across the world.
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