The South African Mission in China has called on travellers to (voluntarily) register their presence in China to provide an accurate figure of the number of South Africans currently in China. Meanwhile the Chinese Ambassador to SA has thanked South Africans for their incredible support, including a company that donated 30,000 masks to China.

south africans in china roll call for coronavirus
China is taking strict measures to try contain the spread of Coronavirus. Image: Xinhua

The call comes as South Africa continues to keep a close watch on developments in China following the declaration of the novel Coronavirus outbreak as a global health emergency by the World Health Organisation (WHO) last week. (See details at bottom of page.)

At least 34 South Africans are trapped in Hubei province which is on lockdown since the virus broke out in Wuhan City.

The Health Department said it received a “reassuring” report from the South African Mission in China, which gives a situational update of the state of affairs in the Asian country.

Within China, limited movement remains important. As a result, the Chinese school holidays have been extended to keep children at home.

34 South African students under lockdown in Hubei Province

SA’s Health Ministry confirmed today: “We have been notified of 34 students, who recently graduated in Hubei Province and are currently unable to leave due to the province currently being under lockdown.

“However, due to the extension of the holidays and China’s commitments to supporting embassies and their respective citizens during the lockdown period, we remain confident that our students will be well taken care of, until such time they may be allowed to exit Hubei Province.”

South Africans currently living in China have recommended on Facebook posts that those teachers planning on moving to China wait a couple of months and apply to other countries in the meanwhile, but stressed that they would recommend that once this has blown over “China is a great place to live and work”.

The Government has also encouraged businesses to be more flexible about working hours and it has encouraged working from home as far as possible.

The Health Department reiterated that to date, no South Africans in China have been reported to have contracted the virus.

According to the report from the South African Mission, very careful attention is being paid to food security and logistics to ensure residents of Wuhan City and Hubei Province do not run out of food and basic essentials.

Gratitude for donations from South Africans and other foreigners

On Monday China’s Ambassador to South Africa, Lin Songtian, thanked the SA government, and those South Africans and SA companies who have made donations, particularly the SA U-Mask manufacturer Universal Safety Products which donated 30,000 medical masks to China.

He said people from around the world have donated everything from cash to vegetables, including “solidarity, strength and confidence”.

Since the start of the outbreak, organisations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Boeing, Dell, Apple, L’Oreal and others have donated supplies, which range from face masks and other personal protection equipment, to funds that will go into research to develop a vaccine.

“We would also like to congratulate the Japanese government for its strength in supporting the Chinese government. There are also thousands of volunteers who have donated their time and services to the cause,” said the Health Department.

More than 100 hotels in Wuhan are offering free accommodation to medical personnel, visitors and foreigners, said Songtian.

To date, there is no proven medicine or vaccine against Coronavirus.

Anyone who experiences flu-like symptoms, with a travel history or contact with someone who has travelled, particularly to China, should seek immediate medical attention at their nearest clinic, GP or hospital.

The Emergency Operation Centre remains activated.

The latest Novel Coronavirus stats are:

  • Globally: 17,391 confirmed (2,838 new)
  • China: 17,238 confirmed (2,831 new) of which 2,296 are severe (186 new) and 361 deaths (57 new)
  • Outside of China: 153 confirmed (7 new) in 23 countries with 1 death

Important Info for South Africans in China

The Department of International Relations (DIRCO) has also established a hotline service in the South African Embassy in Beijing +85 135 0105 9041 and Shanghai +86 159 0045 4282 for South African nationals based in Wuhan City, China. (See more at bottom of page)

[NOTICE]: SA Embassy will send out notifications to SA citizens via the WeChat group. South Africans in China are requested to join this group. #Coronavirus #CoronavirusOutbreak

Posted by Department of International Relations and Cooperation, SA on Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Sources: WHO,, Chinese Ambassador to SA