The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) says it will be part of a multi-disciplinary team instructed by President Cyril Ramaphosa to repatriate citizens from the COVID-19 hit city of Wuhan in China.
The department of defence said on Tuesday approximately 151 South African citizens would be repatriated, at the request of their families.
“Once all the logistics have been confirmed by the planners, who are busy with the planning of the operation, the repatriation process will then commence,” it said in a statement.
“The repatriation planning process is currently at an advanced stage and takes into consideration everything related to the logistics for the operation.”
Last December, Chinese authorities announced the emergence of a novel coronavirus which was the causative agent for an outbreak of respiratory disease.
On January 30 the World Health Organisation declared coronavirus a public health emergency of international concern, but to date there have been no cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, reported in South Africa.
SANDF said a quarantine facility had been identified for the citizens returning from China. A perimeter line enclosing the facility would be guarded by the military and be declared a no entry zone and no flight zone.
It said those under quarantine would not be allowed to exit the perimeter but would be able to move freely within. Upon arrival in South Africa, they would be briefed and tested, with screening done at pre-determined intervals.