As of Thursday 26 March, President Cyril Ramaphosa has tested negative for the coronavirus (COVID-19).
According to the president’s spokesperson Khusela Diko, the president submitted for testing as a precautionary measure upon the advice of his physicians on Tuesday 24 March. He received a negative result on Wednesday evening.
‘The president is in good health’
Ramaphosa availed himself for testing just one day after he announced a nationwide lockdown for a period of 21 days. The lockdown is set to commence on Thursday at 23:59 and end at midnight on 16 April.
“As Head of State and Chair of the National Command Council (NCC) the President has a rigorous public engagements schedule; and has, during the course of the last few weeks, held numerous meetings with a wide cross-section of people from all walks of life,” said Diko.
In line with international guidelines as well as those of the national Department of Health, testing is recommended if you experience symptoms, if you live in or recently travelled to an area with the ongoing spread of coronavirus or if you have been in close contact with someone known to have had coronavirus.
“The Presidency has deemed it necessary to make the test results public to reassure the nation that the president is in good health and continues with his duties,” added Diko.
Ramaphosa could have come into contact with coronavirus
Leader of the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) Kenneth Meshoe revealed over the weekend that he attended a religious gathering earlier this month, where five tourists who contracted coronavirus, were present. Meshoe said he was confident that he had not shown “a single symptom” associated with the coronavirus. However, he has still been tested and was awaiting the result.
“It’s true. After the gathering, I left and came back home. I don’t have anything like the infection. I am going to get tested for coronavirus today, even though I don’t have a single symptom. I’m healthy, I’m well and I’m going to get myself tested later,” he said.
The news came just days after Meshoe had met Ramaphosa and 12 other political leaders whose parties are represented in Parliament – to discuss the best ways of tackling coronavirus.
The Presidency, however, stated that there was no cause for concern:
“The Presidency welcomes Rev Meshoe’s adherence to the testing protocol and we wish him well as he awaits his results. President Cyril Ramaphosa is in good health himself and is observing those same protocols as stringently as he can while performing his duties.
“At this point in time, there is no cause for concern over the president’s health. Nor is there any reason for him to be tested. To the best of his knowledge, no-one the president has recently had contact – including Kenneth Meshoe – has coronavirus symptoms or tested positive for the disease.”