South Africans who tested positive for coronavirus in Japan cleared

04 March 2020 - 20:21 By Naledi Shange
The two South Africans who earlier tested positive for the coronavirus in Japan have now tested negative, says the department of health.
The two South Africans who earlier tested positive for the coronavirus in Japan have now tested negative, says the department of health.
Image: STR/AFP

Two South Africans who tested positive for the coronavirus in Japan are now in the clear.

Health department spokesperson Popo Maja told TimesLIVE on Wednesday that they had received news that the pair’s latest test results had come back negative.

Asked whether there were any plans to repatriate them back home, Maja said: "The private companies that hired [them] will decide on that."

Maja could not immediately share how many days of treatment they received, saying only that the department had received the news of their negative status on Wednesday.

The two were part of a group of 12 South Africans working on the Princess Diamond ship. 

"On February 25 we were informed by the Japanese authorities that two of these South Africans tested positive for Covid-19. They are currently being treated in Japan and the latest reports indicate they are currently asymptomatic,” said health department spokesperson Lwazi Manzi at the time.

"The cruise ship arrived in the Japanese port of Yokohama with 3,700 people on board. On February 1 it was announced a patient who had disembarked in Hong Kong on January 25 had tested positive for coronavirus. This began a quarantine period on board the ship, which officially ended on February 19. 

"It was only at the end of the quarantine that the South African government was alerted about the 12 South Africans who were among the crew members on board the ship."

A total of 705 people aboard the ship tested positive for the virus. These patients were transported off the ship and given medical treatment.

The cruise ship presented a unique situation, with a large number of people finding themselves exposed to Covid-19 in a confined space, leading to the highest infection rate in the world.


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