Cops called in to force unco-operative German tour group into quarantine in Joburg

27 March 2020 - 14:52 By Nomahlubi jordaan
The health department is disappointed that police had to be called in to force a group of 47 German tourists into quarantine when one of them was found to be infected with the coronavirus. Stock photo.
The health department is disappointed that police had to be called in to force a group of 47 German tourists into quarantine when one of them was found to be infected with the coronavirus. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/belchonock

Gauteng’s department of health has confirmed that 47 German tourists are under quarantine after one tested positive for Covid-19.

“One member of the group who tested positive for Covid-19 is at a health facility in Gauteng," health department spokesperson Kwara Kekana said on Friday. “The group had planned to leave the country yesterday [Thursday]. Port health services were alerted and responded to the situation, leading to the group being grounded.”

She said the group was in quarantine at a private facility in Gauteng.

“Due to the limited quarantine space, separate arrangements were made to have the other 15 members of the group accommodated at one of the Gauteng’s health facilities.

“It is disappointing the group was not co-operative with officials, to the point where police had to be called in by the department to help manage the situation,” said Kekana.

She said necessary precautions had to be taken while transporting them to prevent exposure to the virus.

“[Gauteng department of health] once more pleads with members of society, including visitors, to adhere to the lockdown measures and protocols the government has put in place. It is through working together that we will be able to disrupt the chain of transmission of the coronavirus,” Kekana said.

International relations minister Naledi Pandor told eNCA the tourists would not immediately be permitted to travel home as this could expose others to risk.

Tsogo Sun hotels chief operating officer Ravi Nadasen told eNCA  the group had arrived at one of their hotels in Johannesburg before a directive from government to hotels and guest houses to no longer allow check-ins.

“We have not been checking in any new international tourists,” said Nadasen. “We work in close contact with the National Institute of Communicable Diseases. If a person presents symptoms, we inform our doctors, who are in close contact with the NICD. The person goes into isolation.

“We have a contact-less environment in which our staff don't come into any physical contact.”

He said the affected German tourist's room was sealed and cleaned after he left.

Nadasen said they had not been advised to subject any staff members to testing.

“What's important for us is that we've provided the department of health with the best quarantine facility. We were exposed to high-level training, and that's something we've implemented in all our hotels quite vigorously,” Nadasen said.


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