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SA evacuees from Wuhan not infected with COVID-19 - Mkhize

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said that the SANDF-led mission was expected back by the end of the weekend and all aboard the flight would be quarantined for at least 14 days until they were cleared.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize speaks at an inter-ministerial briefing in Pretoria on the coronavirus situation in South Africa on 9 March 2020. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The Protea Ranch Hotel in Limpopo has been confirmed as the quarantine site for the South African evacuees from the coronavirus epicentre in Wuhan, China.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said that the SANDF-led mission was expected back by the end of the weekend and all aboard the flight would be quarantined for at least 14 days until they were cleared.

Mkhize said that 84 sites around the country were considered and three were shortlisted, including Thaba Nchu in the Free State and another site in KwaZulu-Natal.

He said that the Limpopo hotel was found to be the most suitable due to the number of rooms, catering services and proximity to a landing area for the arriving aircraft and airlifting anyone who needed treatment.

Mkhize appealed to Limpopo residents to remember that the evacuees were not sick or positive but that their quarantine was only statutory.

"A decision has now been made that this site will be used. There's been an agreement signed with the owners of this particular place. There's also been work that has been done with the staff and we want to confirm that after this, this place is a quarantine area. No media is allowed."

Earlier on Thursday night, Mkhize clarified that the Free State man who had been counted as positive for COVID-19 was in fact not infected with the coronavirus.

He has also apologised for the reference made to a Chinese businessman whom he said had passed on the virus.

WATCH: Here’s how the repatriation of SA citizens from Wuhan will be managed