CAPE TOWN, March 30 (Xinhua) -- South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said Monday that China's strict lockdown and social distancing policies have been effective in keeping its nationals safe from the COVID-19.
Ramaphosa made the remarks after 114 South Africans, who were repatriated from Wuhan, China, were allowed to return home on Sunday after testing negative for the virus at the end of their 14-day quarantine in a ranch resort in Polokwane, Limpopo Province.
The experience of the South Africans in Wuhan has demonstrated the effectiveness and the necessity of a state lockdown, said Ramaphosa.
"It was due to the draconian actions that the Chinese government took to contain the disease in the city of Wuhan, that all of our people were able to return uninfected and healthy," Ramaphosa said in his weekly presidential address to the nation.
"It is important that this lockdown and all other emergency measures are both strictly adhered to and consistently enforced," he said as South Africa entered into the fourth day of a 21-day national lockdown designed to contain the rapid spread of COVID-19.
"It shows that if we cooperate with health authorities in doing what we have to do, we won't be just saving our own lives but those around us too," he added.
In his speech, Ramaphosa also expressed his appreciation to China in assisting the repatriation of the South African nationals.
As of Sunday, South Africa has recorded 1,280 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with two related deaths.