South African President tests positive with COVID-19

11:42, 13 December 2021
South African President tests positive with COVID-19 Photo: Michele Tantussi/dpa/Global Look Press

President of the Republic of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa tested positive for COVID-19, the office of the head of state reported.

"President Ramaphosa says 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 hospitalization," the statement says.

Ramaphosa, 69, felt unwell after attending an event in Cape Town, according to the President's office. Нe is in a "good mood" and is under the supervision of specialists from the military medical service of the South African Defense Forces.

Ramaphosa who was fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will be in self-isolation in Cape Town while Vice President David Mabuza will be the acting head of state.

In late November, the first cases of infection with the omicron strain of COVID-19 were detected in South Africa and Botswana. 

Director of the Center for Innovation and Epidemic Response in South Africa Tulio de Oliveira said that at the end of November about 90% of new cases in the South African province of Gauteng, including Johannesburg, were caused by a new variant of the coronavirus.

Chief scientist for the World Health Organization Soumya Swaminathan appealed on December 3 to people all around the world not to panic over the new COVID variant dubbed omicron, highlighting that the current situation differs a lot from that of last year.