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OR Tambo and Cape Town International Airports on high alert for coronavirus

The rapidly spreading virus has so far killed 41 people in China with over 1,300 cases reported.

International arrivals terminal at Oliver Tambo International Airport. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG – The health department says it has systems in place to deal with the new coronavirus should it spread to South Africa.

The rapidly spreading virus has so far killed 41 people in China with over 1,300 cases reported.

Authorities globally are overwhelmed by fears that the virus could become a global pandemic.

Despite not classifying the coronavirus as an international emergency the World Health Organisation says it may become a global crisis.

*The global spread of the coronavirus: where is it?

The health department spokesperson Popo Maja says all measures and systems have been approved by the global health body.

“We have machines at our points of entry. Right now, the high alert is at OR Tambo and Cape Town International Airports. These are the points of entry for flights from Asia.”

Infections have also been reported in nine other countries including South Korea, Japan, Australia, France and the United States.

Coffee giant Starbucks has shut down all shops and deliveries in china's Hubei province for the lunar new year celebrations amid health concerns.

Starbucks made the announcement on social media on Saturday morning, saying it's worried about the safety of its customers and employees.