Africa, Latest on coronavirus outbreak

South Africa provincial head tests COVID-19 positive

Day after a North West provincial government executive succumbed to pandemic, premier and other official tested positive

Hassan Isilow   | 08.07.2020
South Africa provincial head tests COVID-19 positive

JOHANNESBURG 

The head of government or premier of South African’s North West province and a senior official have tested positive for COVID-19, a day after their colleague succumbed to the pandemic.

North West Premier Tebogo Job Mokgoro, announced late Tuesday that he has tested positive for COVID-19 and is effectively in self-isolation, said his office.

The premier’s office said he took a test on Monday following the death of a colleague, Gordon Kegakilwe, a provincial member of the Executive Council responsible for cooperative governance, human settlement, and traditional affairs.

Kegakilwe was admitted with COVID-19-related pneumonia at the Vryburg Private Hospital but suffered cardiac arrest upon his transfer to Klerksdorp, a much larger city in an ambulance. He died despite efforts by medical personnel to revive him.

“The provincial health department has already begun contact tracing in this regard,’’ the statement said referring to tracing those who had been in contact with the infected official.

The statement also said another provincial member of the Executive Council responsible for public works and roads, Saliva Molapisi, has also tested positive and is in self-isolation.

South Africa has nine provinces, and each has an executive council, which can also be referred to as a provincial cabinet. The Provincial Executive Council consists of the premier as head and 5-10 members.

South Africa has the highest number of COVID-19 infections in Africa with 215, 855 cases. At least 3,502 people have died from the disease since the first death was reported in the country three months ago.

Officials are expecting an increase in infections, as the country is currently in the winter season. They have set up several field hospitals and isolation centers to deal with the anticipated surge.

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