South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has delegated all responsibilities to his deputy David Mabuza after testing positive for the coronavirus on Sunday.
He is receiving treatment for mild Covid-19 symptoms, after he “started feeling unwell after leaving the State Memorial Service in honour of former Deputy President FW de Klerk in Cape Town”, his office said.
“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 hospitalisation,” a statement said.
Last week, Mr Ramaphosa said that the country was preparing hospitals for more admissions as the Omicron variant appeared to account for new infections in most provinces.
“We will soon be convening a meeting of the National Coronavirus Command Council to review the state of the pandemic. This will enable us to take whatever further measures are needed to keep people safe and healthy,” he said, He urged people to have their vaccinations.
“We are keeping a close eye on the rates of infection and hospitalisation,” he said.
Doctors say many people who have become ill during South Africa’s rapid increase in Covid-19 cases have mild symptoms.
Most new cases in the country attributed to the Omicron coronavirus variant have been recorded among people aged in their twenties and thirties.
“So far they have mostly been very mild cases, with patients having flu-like symptoms – dry coughs, fever, night sweats, a lot of body pains,” said Dr Unben Pillay, a GP in Gauteng province, where 81 per cent of new cases have been reported since the beginning of December.