By Frank Kamuntu
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has tested negative for coronavirus after taking the test as a precautionary measure, the presidency said in a statement on Thursday.
The president underwent the test on Tuesday on the advice of physicians and received his results on Wednesday night, the statement said, adding Ramaphosa had held meetings with a variety of people in recent weeks.
South Africa currently has 709 confirmed coronavirus cases, with no reported deaths. Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has warned infections are expected to keep rising.
Ramaphosa is among the African presidents who have set up strict and toughest measures on the continent, including a 21-day lockdown that is due to start at midnight on Thursday. He has also deployed the army to support the police in re-enforcement of the government directives aiming to curb the virus.
Businesses are bracing for the lockdown, with Airlink becoming the latest local airline to suspend flights from midnight on Thursday. State power utility Eskom has applied for its critical staff to be exempt from the stay at home order so electricity supplies can continue uninterrupted.
Meanwhile, the government of Kenya has announced the first Coronavirus death ever since the pandemic broke out in East Africa. Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said in a statement yesterday that the man died at the Aga Khan Intensive Care Unit in the afternoon.
Kenya becomes the second country in East Africa after Sudan to confirm a coronavirus-related death. The total number of confirmed cases in Kenya now sits at 31, lower than in some countries in Africa. The first death in the country brings the total deaths in Africa to 73.
The CS earlier this week expressed concerns about two patients who he said were of advanced age. In Africa, 43 countries have confirmed 2, 412 positive cases. Fifteen countries have confirmed coronavirus deaths. As a continent, Africa still remains far behind the number of infections confirmed in Europe, North America and Asia.