SA students in Russia panic as some test positive for COVID-19
The students from Mpumalanga have been staying in a hostel where several people tested positive for the virus.
A group of Mpumalanga students in Russia say they are currently in a state of panic after some of them tested positive for COVID-19, reports.
The group was awarded bursaries to go study in the country which has recorded well over 150 000 cases of the novel coronavirus, with the death toll closing in on 2 000.
Calls for government to repatriate SA students from Russia
They have called for the South African government to look into repatriating them or, at the very least, relocate them to safer accommodation amid fears of contracting the deadly virus.
“There have been three confirmed cases in this hostel and now this hostel is under full lockdown. No one is allowed to go out and at the moment, some of us don’t have food in our rooms. They just implemented this full lockdown without letting us know first. Now they locked us here to fight this invisible enemy on our own,” one of the students told the SABC.
“So it is difficult especially because hey, just found three guys, three rooms away from my room that were confirmed to the coronavirus and still we haven’t been tested or anything like that, it’s just a waiting game.”
Fears over the students’ bursaries
The calls for government to intervene have been echoed by the students’ parents, who fear that the students’ bursaries could be on the line should they express a desire to return home.
“There were some rumours that if you register your name to the list of the people who want to come back home, your bursary will be terminated. You need to stay until they say you need to come back home. “Instead of attending to this problem, these guys are threatening our children with terminating their contracts and all that which is not right during this …where we are faced with this pandemic.”
South Africa has repatriated citizens from several countries since the outbreak of the pandemic, including those in Wuhan, China – which was one of the hardest-hit regions in the world.
Globally, COVID-19 has infected close to four million people, with the death toll nearing 300 000.