President Cyril Ramaphosa has wished Health Minister Dr. Zweli Mkhize and his wife Dr. May Mkhize a safe and speedy recovery after they tested positive for Covid-19.
“The president wishes the Mkhizes a safe and restful recovery, and joins the minister in calling on all South Africans to remain careful and do all we need to do to keep safe and help the country avoid a second wave of the pandemic,” the Presidency said.
Mkhize, who criss-crossed the country leading the nation’s fight against the pandemic, tested positive for the virus at the weekend.
The minister said: “I wish to inform the public that my wife Dr. May Mkhize and I have tested positive for Covid-19. We decided to go for a test when I started showing mild symptoms.
“I was feeling abnormally exhausted and as the day progressed, I started losing my appetite. My wife had a cough, was dizzy, and extremely exhausted. Given her symptoms, the doctors advised that she must be admitted for observation and rehydration.
“Our close contacts in the past week have been a few of our family members and some of my Health Ministry team. We have informed them and advised them to immediately isolate in their homes and be tested. I am now in quarantine at home and both my wife and I remain optimistic that we will fully recover from this virus.
“I wish to take this opportunity to urge all South Africans to continue adhering to health protocols. I want to beg that we do not neglect wearing our masks, social distancing, and washing/sanitising our hands.”
Mkhize said the country had made significant strides in the fight against the pandemic. “Let us not dare regress. Whatever we do and wherever we go, we have to keep in mind that there remains a risk of a second wave. This virus only spreads through movement and contact of people.
“Therefore, we must all play our part. We must protect ourselves and those we love. “I will use this quarantine period to rest and recharge because our task to improve the health services of our country and the lives our people even post-Covid-19 remains of paramount importance.”
As of Sunday, the cumulative number of detected Covid-19 cases in the country was 703 793, with 1662 new cases identified since the last report.
“Regrettably, we report 63 more Covid-19 related deaths – nine in the Eastern Cape and 54 in KwaZulu-Natal. This brings the total number of deaths to 18471,” Mkhize said. He extended condolences to the loved ones of the departed. He also thanked the healthcare workers who treated them.
Meanwhile, the government has revised the list of high-risk countries based on a risk categorisation model.
The latest list of such countries published by the Department of Home Affairs is Argentina, Germany, Peru, Bangladesh, India, Philippines, Belgium, Indonesia, Russia, Brazil, Iran, Spain, Canada, Iraq, the UK, Chile, Italy, the US, Colombia, Mexico, France and the Netherlands.
“We continue to be reminded that the Covid-19 pandemic is still with us and we need to continue to take precautions. In its last meeting, the Cabinet instructed the ministers of Health, Home Affairs and Tourism to lead a process to review the list. The review of the list of high-risk countries was done in such a way that it strikes a balance between saving lives and protecting livelihoods,” the department said yesterday.
“Nothing has changed as far as all travellers from the continent of Africa are concerned. They are still welcome to visit the country subject to Covid-19 protocols.
“People from high-risk countries who may visit SA fall into the following categories: business travellers, holders of critical skills visas, investors and people on international missions in sports, arts, culture and science. We recognise there are a number of regular visitors from mainly European countries who have been accustomed to long periods of visitation to our country during our summer season when it is winter in the Northern Hemisphere. Most of them own properties in the country.
“We appreciate the significant economic contribution that they make through their activities in the country. To this end, we will also allow visitors, in whichever category, who are coming to stay for a three-month period or more, subject to Covid-19 protocols.”