Coronavirus: It’s best for S. Africans to stay in China, says ambassador

More than 360 people have now died since the outbreak last month.

China's ambassador to South Africa Lin Songtian in Pretoria. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - China on Monday said it was unsafe and costly for South Africans stranded in Wuhan to return home as the coronavirus death toll continued to rise.

More than 360 people have now died from the coronavirus with more than 17,000 people being treated.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the deadly virus a global emergency, with many countries evacuating its citizens out of China.

Chinese ambassador to S. Africans in Wuhan: It’s safer to stay where you are

In the US, health officials have announced three more cases of the virus in California, bringing the state's total to six and the country's total to 11 cases.

The country has issued a level four travel advisory, warning residents not to travel to China, adding that most commercial air carriers have reduced or suspended flights to and from the country.

And Vietnam has confirmed an additional case of the virus in the province of Vinh Phuc, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to eight.

China’s ambassador to South Africa Lin Songtian has questioned the manner in which some countries are responding to the coronavirus outbreak.

Lin said together with the world, China could stop the coronavirus. He said South Africans stuck in China were safe and well taken care of.

“The specialised hospital is already there. I think it’s best for people to stay there.”

In a bid to prevent the spread of the deadly virus, several countries have evacuated their citizens from Wuhan and others have gone as far as preventing Chinese nationals from entering their territories.

Lin stressed the importance of China’s economy, calling on all countries to stand together to help China fight the outbreak.

Last week, South Africans working in Wuhan criticised the government for not evacuating them.

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