South African President Cyril Ramaphosa positive for Covid-19

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa tested positive for Covid-19 on Sunday, December 12, and began treatment, suffering from mild symptoms of the disease.

Mr. Ramaphosa, 69, fully vaccinated, began to feel ” just “ after leaving the official ceremony in Cape Town at midday in honor of former President Frederik de Klerk, who died in November, the presidency said in a statement late that evening. The head of state wore a black mask during the ceremony, which gathered around two hundred people in a church in the city, except when he delivered the eulogy.

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“The president, who is fully vaccinated, has isolated himself in Cape Town and has delegated all his responsibilities to the vice-president, David Mabuza, for next week”, added the office of the president, specifying that the ceremony had taken place in the respect of the sanitary rules. However, people who have come into contact with Mr Ramaphosa have been advised to watch for symptoms or to get tested.

The Head of State is followed by the army health services. For the moment, no information has been communicated concerning whether or not it would have been contaminated – or not – by the new Omicron variant, detected in November in South Africa.

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, as well as the director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention of the African Union (Africa CDC), John Nkengasong, wished him ” a speedy recovery “ in Twitter messages.

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A “warning to all the inhabitants of the country”

Omicron is now the source of the vast majority of contaminations in South Africa, which has seen an exponential increase in cases since its appearance. Hospitalizations, however, remain quite low. South Africa is officially the African country most affected by the pandemic. It has more than 3.1 million cases, including more than 90,000 deaths.

Many unknowns still hover over the nature of the new form of the virus, which presents many mutations and which, according to the first scientific observations, would be more contagious. Researchers are still working on the effectiveness of vaccines.

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Cyril Ramaphosa recently made an official visit to four West African countries, during which he underwent regular tests. When he returned to South Africa on December 8, he had tested negative, the presidency said. The press release quotes the head of state declaring that he wants his own contamination “Serves as a warning to all the inhabitants of the country so that they can be vaccinated and remain vigilant to any exposure” virus. Just over a quarter of South Africans are fully vaccinated to date, more than elsewhere in Africa, but far behind the rest of the world.

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The World with AFP