South African president has Covid-19 but symptoms mild

Cyril Ramaphosa is in self-isolation in Cape Town and has delegated all responsibilities to deputy president



South African President Cyril Ramaphosa speaks during former president FW de Klerk's state memorial service at the Groote Kerk church in Cape Town. — AFP
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa speaks during former president FW de Klerk's state memorial service at the Groote Kerk church in Cape Town. — AFP

By Reuters

Published: Mon 13 Dec 2021, 12:45 AM

Last updated: Mon 13 Dec 2021, 1:02 AM

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa tested positive for Covid-19 on Sunday, but was showing mild symptoms, the presidency said.

“The President started feeling unwell after leaving the State Memorial Service in honour of former Deputy President FW de Klerk in Cape Town earlier today,” the statement said.

“The President, who is fully vaccinated, is in self-isolation in Cape Town and has delegated all responsibilities to Deputy President David Mabuza for the next week,” it added.

The statement didn’t say whether he had been infected with the omicron coronavirus variant.

Last week, Ramaphosa visited four West African countries. He and all members of his delegation were tested for Covid-19 in each of the countries during the trip. Some in the delegation tested positive in Nigeria and returned directly to South Africa. Throughout the rest of the trip, Ramaphosa and his delegation tested negative. Ramaphosa returned from Senegal on December 8.

Ramaphosa said his own infection serves as a caution to all people in South Africa to be vaccinated and remain vigilant against exposure, the statement said. Vaccination remains the best protection against severe illness and hospitalization, it said.

People in South Africa who have had contact with Ramaphosa on Sunday are advised to watch for symptoms or to have themselves tested, it said.


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