Coronavirus: Concerns over healthcare raised, SA citizens in China stay put

Coronavirus: Concerns over healthcare raised, SA citizens in China stay put

- The Young Nurses Indaba Trade Union has questioned calls not to panic over the coronavirus

- According to the union, South Africa's healthcare system isn't equipped to deal with the outbreak

- Meanwhile, some South Africans living in Wuhan aren't sold on returning to Mzansi

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Lerato Madumo-Gova, president of the Young Nurses Indaba Trade Union, has voiced concern over the nation's ability to handle the coronavirus outbreak.

Speaking to The Citizen, Madumo-Gova explained that nurses and other workers in the sector haven't been trained to handle the outbreak:

“We are aware that nurses have not been adequately trained in dealing with coronavirus, since this virus was never part of any nursing curriculum. Every nurse and any healthcare professional employed by the public healthcare sector in South Africa know that besides our overcrowded hospitals, our units have few to no isolation cubicles. Shortage of material and human resources is our everyday nightmare."

Another cause for concern was the accuracy of the early-detection systems in place at airports and points of entry:

“If a person could enter the country through the airport where there are stringent protocols and screenings in place and still manage to pass undetected, what about our inadequate borders?”

READ ALSO: Coronavirus: Sandton school closes over contamination concerns reported that the first South African who contracted the virus had travelled to Italy and back without raising any red flags.

The 38-year-old KwaZulu-Natal Midlands man has subsequently infected both his wife and a woman from Gauteng who had come into contact with him.

Meanwhile, some South Africans living in Wuhan - believed to be the epicentre of the outbreak - aren't keen to take advantage of the SANDF operation to bring them home.

Around 184 citizens are set to be retrieved by the army during the operation that is set to cost around R25 million.

The repatriated citizens will then be held in quarantine until they pose no risk for potentially transmitting the disease.

Among the reasons some are reluctant to return include unemployment, load-shedding and an ailing public health sector.

City Press spoke to one such citizen who explained why they would rather remain behind in China:

“I am staying here. I know things will get back to normal. The government here is working very hard [to contain the outbreak], so I am still optimistic. If I return to South Africa, I know I won’t get a job quickly. And to be honest, I don’t believe we can handle something of this magnitude. Here, there are the best hospitals and technology. All we need to do now is to wear our masks, stay away from the sick, wash our hands and follow basic hygiene standards.”

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