Coronavirus in SA: Student allowed to go home and skip quarantine after US trip

A Rhodes University student was allowed to go home and was not placed under mandatory quarantine after returning from a trip to the US, which is considered to be a high-risk destination during the novel coronavirus outbreak.

A report that circulated via social media, claimed that the student arrived at OR Tambo International Airport from the US on Thursday, and was allowed to proceed to his private residence in Makhanda instead of being kept under mandatory quarantine at a site for those who return from high-risk countries.

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"Rhodes University is aware of the alleged incident", vice-chancellor Dr Sizwe Mabizela said in a statement on Sunday.

"The matter was reported to the local police and health officials who, in turn, reacted swiftly, ensuring that the student was placed under quarantine," he added.

It was reported that the student's house mates were in self-isolation and would be monitored for symptoms for the mandatory 14-day period.

After a meeting with the local police and Makana health sub-district representatives at Rhodes University, Mabizela said each citizen has to play an active role in adhering to guidelines in line with President Cyril Ramaphosa's earlier declaration of a national state of disaster.

"We must take it as our civic duty to protect one another, not just in compliance with what is prescribed, but as part of our responsibility to one another", said Mabizela.

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Ramaphosa previously announced that all travellers, especially those who travelled to high-risk countries, would be screened when entering South Africa and if required, be isolated or quarantined for a minimum of 14 days.