South African politicians encouraged to isolate and get tested for coronavirus after party leader tests positive

Parliament has indicated that some MPs may need to self-isolate and get tested after it emerged African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) leader Kenneth Meshoe and chief whip Steve Swart have tested positive for the coronavirus.

In a statement of Saturday (28 March), parliament said that Meshoe and Swart were amongst those who attended a church conference in Bloemfontein, where one of the guests was later tested positive for Covid-19.

“Our prayers are with them and all those who have been infected, to beat the virus and recover fully. We encourage Members of Parliament or any person who may have had close contact with Rev Meshoe and Mr Swart in the last two weeks, including at the precincts of parliament, to isolate/get tested in accordance with the guidelines of the Department of Health and the NICD,”  it said.

The ACDP has said that Meshoe – who displayed no symptoms of the virus – attended the briefing of political party leaders, on 18 March, hosted by President Cyril Ramaphosa at parliament.

“The ACDP President was only subsequently informed about the results of the visitors’ tests on 20 March,”  the party said.

“He immediately went into self-containment and made himself available for testing, where he was tested by the Health Department on Sunday (22 March). Mr Steve Swart, who had experienced mild flu-like symptoms had also self-isolated and had his test done on Monday 23 March.”

The ACDP said it was ‘ unfortunate’  that Meshoe had to wait five days for the outcome of his test, and had to call the Health Department numerous times for the outcome.

“This has placed unnecessary stress on him, and his family, and has also resulted in unwarranted speculation in the media,” it said.

“Nonetheless, the ACDP wishes to thank the medical staff in both the public and private spheres who attended to Rev Meshoe and Mr Swart, and indeed all other medical staff who are on the frontline of the battle against this pandemic. We are deeply grateful to them and pray for their protection.”

Read: Patrice Motsepe and his companies donate R1 billion to fight coronavirus pandemic in South Africa

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South African politicians encouraged to isolate and get tested for coronavirus after party leader tests positive