Coronavirus – South Africa: Premier Sisi Ntombela, MEC Montseng Tsiu and Director-General Kopung Ralikontsane test positive for Coronavirus COVID-19

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The Premier of the Free State, Sisi Ntombela, the Member of Executive Council (MEC) responsible for Health, Montseng Tsiu, and the Director-General (DG) of the Free State Provincial Government, Kopung Ralikontsane, have tested positive for the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

While the DG and the MEC for Health’s results returned positive over the weekend, the Premier’s results returned positive today, 13 October 2020.

Premier Ntombela will continue to carry out her work responsibilities while in isolation, until she has fully recovered, or advised otherwise by healthcare professionals, also considering the relevant protocols set out by government.

MEC Tsiu is receiving medical attention, while the MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), Thembeni Nxangisa, will act as the MEC for Health until MEC Tsiu has fully recovered.

Premier Ntombela has, in terms of the provisions of section 32 of the Public Service Act, 1994 (Proclamation No. 103 of 1994), appointed the Deputy Director-General: Policy, Planning and Governance, Thuso Ramaema, as Acting Director-General from 12 October 2020 to 26 October 2020.

The Free State Provincial Government (FSPG) wishes the Premier, MEC for Health, and the DG a speedy recovery.

The FSPG urges all citizens of the province, and South Africans in general, now more than ever, to play their part in observing the necessary protocols of washing hands and sanitizing regularly, wearing a mask when in public, and practicing physical distancing.

The FSPG wishes to emphasize to the public that although the country moved to Alert Level 1 of the National Lockdown, from midnight on 20 September 2020, the fight against the virus is far from over, as we are still in the midst of a deadly pandemic.

“Although we have made progress in curbing the spread of the virus, it has not been eliminated, and thus, people must continue to exercise extreme cautiousness, and urge others to be responsible and accountable for their actions. Our ultimate challenge now, is that there are communities which are no longer adhering to regulations and observing the necessary protocols, which is putting the lives of citizens in danger.

It is important to note that many people amongst us, who have contracted the coronavirus do not have symptoms, yet could unsuspectingly infect others”, said Premier Ntombela. “Our most important duty now, in dealing with this pandemic, is to ensure that we do not experience a new, rapid surge in infections, which will result in what is called a ‘second wave’ or resurgence of infections.”

The FSPG urges citizens to continue to be cautious and consider the effect of their actions on others, as reckless behaviour places the elderly, and those who suffer from comorbidities at greater risk.

The FSPG wishes to emphasize that those who choose to visit places of entertainment, or travel for leisure, must do so responsibly, including observing the necessary protocols when visiting family members and friends.

The FSPG further wishes to inform citizens who have tested positive for COVID-19, and need to be safely isolated to avoid infecting their loved ones and members of the community, that they can enquire about safe and free government quarantine facilities in their area, by calling the Provincial COVID-19 Hotline on 0800 535 554. Citizens are furthermore urged to call the Hotline for any other assistance or enquires related to COVID-19.

Issued by: Free State Provincial Government

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of South African Government.

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