- Health Minister Zweli Mkhize says that government is 'upping its game' at ports of entry into South Africa
- This comes amid attempts to limit the potential spread of the coronavirus in SA
- Briefly.co.za explores how the state is seeking to safeguard the nation's borders
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Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has briefed Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Health over the coronavirus.
The politician says that the state is busy 'upping its game' at ports of entry into South Africa, with all nine provinces prepped to treat citizens displaying symptoms of the disease:
"We can treat any patient who would land in this country and we have every province ready to treat such people."
News24 reports that 13 hospitals have been chosen in order to isolate and treat those who displayed symptoms.
The floors and arrival halls at these ports of entry are being disinfected and immigration officials have been recommended to wear masks and gloves by the department.
In other news, the government intends to spend R25 million in a defence force operation to repatriate 184 citizens from China back to South Africa in the midst of the outbreak.
READ ALSO: Chinese ambassador: SA's health system can cope with coronavirus
President Cyril Ramaphosa sent a letter to National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise and National Council of Provinces chairperson Amos Masondo, detailing this amount, reports IOL.
Ramaphosa confirmed that SANDF officials will be deployed for the operation in order to aid the Department of International Relations and Cooperation and the Department of Health:
“One hundred and fifty-one (151) members of the SANDF are employed in support of Dirco and Department of Health in facilitating the repatriation of South African citizens from the People’s Republic of China, Hubei province, back to South Africa."
Ramaphosa revealed that this operation is set to continue into mid-April in the letter:
“This employment was authorised in accordance with the provisions of section 18(1)(c) of the Defence Act of 2002. This employment is from 1 March until 15 April 2020. The total expenditure expected to be incurred for this employment is R25m."
Briefly.co.za reported that two South Africans aboard the Japanese cruise ship the Diamond Princess had contracted the virus during their travels.
The government in Japan had assured Mzansi that the two patients would be cared for during their treatment and quarantine period.
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