The threat of coronavirus has affected traders at Oriental City Centurion.
It emerged yesterday that some were stuck in South Africa unable to travel to China to collect the stock, while others were stranded in China, unable to bring stock into South Africa.
Traders at the centre yesterday said business in the past month had been slow.
Some said that when the news first broke in January, customers started staying away, and those that decided to go to the shops were wearing protective masks over their mouths.
A cellphone repair shop owner said it was unfortunate that people did not care to educate themselves enough about the facts of the virus.
“Some Chinese people here have even stopped traveling; they usually travel to restock but now choose to stay in South Africa because they are afraid to go there and put themselves at risk.”
He said it was usually a busy place and a lot of people shopped at the centre because they could find items that were not available elsewhere.
Most shops at the centre were empty yesterday, while some had just a few shoppers.
On Monday, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases said 116 people had been tested for the virus, 68 of them were still under investigation. All of the results had come back negative.
The institute further confirmed there had been no confirmed cases of the virus in the country.
Clinical virologist Dr. Terry Marshall said with the extensive ties South Africa had with China, it came as a surprise that no cases of the virus were found in the country.
She said there was no need to see Chinese people as a threat or treat them like they were unwanted in the country. “We have had some cases where some employers do not allow their employees who have traveled to China back to their offices.
“The person will get quarantined for 14 days, and after several tests, allowed back to the office,” she said.
South Africans should not worry about dealing with China because it was possible to get infected without a travel history with that country, she said.
Although South Africans were not massively at risk, “we can’t say we are at a zero risk”.