South African President Cyril Ramaphosa tested positive for Covid-19 on Sunday and was receiving treatment for mild symptoms, the presidency said in a statement.
Ramaphosa, who is fully vaccinated, began feeling unwell after leaving a state memorial service for former president FW de Klerk in Cape Town earlier in the day but was in good spirits and being monitored by doctors, it said.
The highly mutated Omicron variant was first detected in South Africa last month and sparked global panic over fears that it is more contagious than other variants.
Ramaphosa would remain in self-isolation in Cape Town for the time being and had delegated all responsibilities to Deputy President David Mabuza for the next week.
On a recent visit to four West African states, the president and the entire South African delegation were tested for Covid-19 in all countries, the statement said.
“The president also tested negative on his return to Johannesburg on 8 December.”
The statement quoted Ramaphosa as saying his infection served as a warning of the importance of getting vaccinated and remaining vigilant against exposure.
“Vaccination remains the best protection against severe illness and hospitalisation,” the statement said.
People who came in contact with the president were advised to watch for symptoms or get tested.
“I am very sorry to hear you tested positive for Covid-19, my brother Cyril Ramaphosa. I wish you a swift recovery. Stay strong! Together!,” World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus tweeted.(AFP)