South African President Cyril Ramaphosa tests positive for Covid-19




South African President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses the nation. Picture: Siyabulela Duda/GCIS

Cape Town – President Cyril Ramaphosa is currently receiving treatment for mild Covid-19 symptoms following a positive test result on Sunday.

Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele confirmed this hours after Ramaphosa delivered his eulogy at the last apartheid president, FW de Klerk’s state memorial in Cape Town on Sunday.

It is believed that the president started feeling ill shortly after the memorial service.

Gungubele notes that while Ramaphosa appears to be in good spirits, he was being monitored by the South African Military Health Service of the South African National Defence Force.

He will remain in Cape Town for the duration of his quarantine.

Deputy president David Mabuza will take over Ramaphosa’s responsibilities for the next week.

“On his recent visit to four West African states, President Ramaphosa and the South African delegation were tested for Covid-19 in all countries,” Gungubele said.

“The President and the delegation returned to South Africa from the Republic of Senegal on Wednesday 8 December after obtaining negative test results. The President also tested negative on his return to Johannesburg on 8 December.”

Sunday’s state memorial was undertaken in compliance with health regulations pertaining to hand hygiene, the wearing of face masks and social distancing.

The president sat in close proximity to De Klerk’s widow Elita Georgiades.

Gungubele said Ramaphosa further encouraged that his own infection serves as a caution to all people in the country to be vaccinated and remain vigilant against exposure.

“Vaccination remains the best protection against severe illness and hospitalisation,” Gungubele said.

“People who have had contact with the President today [Sunday] are advised to watch for symptoms or to have themselves tested.”

The latest Covid-19 figures showed that there are 37 875 new cases which includes 19 840 retrospective cases and 18 035 new cases. The positivity testing rate is 28.9% while the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases is 3 167 497.