CYRILDENE – Chinese nationals living in South Africa have told Eyewitness News that they’re worried about the return of travellers from China following the lunar new year celebrations.
New year festivities which were supposed to take place in Joburg suburbs were postponed as a precautionary measure due to the coronavirus being declared a global emergency.
Almost 500 people have died from the virus in China while more than 20,000 patients are being treated.
Shop owners were hard at work packing and counting stock, with some covering their faces with surgical masks, too busy to speak about the impact of the coronavirus.
There appears to be mixed reaction to the virus, with some saying that Chinese residents in Johannesburg were overreacting, while others take a more cautious approach.
Tianyuan Fang owns a restaurant in Cyrildene and said he felt safer in South Africa where there is no confirmed case.
“I’m not scared. It’s all good in South Africa. You know, some Chinese are scared, that’s why they’re wearing the masks.”
One man, who arrived in South Africa 27 years ago, said that he was not sure whether South African hospitals would have the necessary capacity to deal with a possible outbreak.
“There’s not enough precaution being taken, I think. There’s not enough information that the government is giving to make the public aware.”
The Chinese embassy said that anyone returning from China would be screened and all necessary precautions would be taken to prevent the virus from spreading to South Africa.