South Africa’s president tests positive for COVID-19

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South African President Cyril Ramaphosa tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday. 

The government announced in a statement on Sunday that Ramaphosa was “receiving treatment for mild COVID-19” after testing positive that day.  

“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,” the announcement read.

The 69-year-old president “is in good spirits” and in the care of the South African Military Health Service of the South African National Defense Force, according to the statement. The government also noted that he began “feeling unwell” after an event in Cape Town earlier on Sunday.

“President Ramaphosa says his own infection serves as a caution to all people in the country to be vaccinated and remain vigilant against exposure,” the statement said. “Vaccination remains the best protection against severe illness and hospitalization.”

The president’s diagnosis comes not long after the new omicron variant was first detected in South Africa last month.

Since then, health officials in the U.S. have placed even more emphasis on American adults receiving their booster shots amid the threat of a possible rise in infections due to the new variant. 

“People who have received one or two doses appear to have significantly lower levels of immunity to omicron,” Josh Michaud, associate director for global health policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation, said. “It does seem to have raised the stakes a bit.”

Tags COVID vaccine Cyril Ramaphosa omicron South Africa

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