South Africa trade minister tests positive for Covid-19

Patel looks on during a coronavirus press conference in March 2020.
Patel looks on during a coronavirus press conference in March 2020.PHOTO: AFP

JOHANNESBURG (AFP) - South Africa's Trade Minister Ebrahim Patel on Saturday (July 25) tested positive for Covid-19, the Cabinet said, the fourth minister to contract the virus in Africa's hardest-hit country.

Cabinet spokeswoman Phumla Williams said in a statement that Patel, 58, received his results on Saturday.

"Minister Patel is in good spirits and is in self-quarantine, and will continue to work from home," Williams said.

"Those that have been in contact with the Minister are also in self-isolation and have been encouraged to get tested," she added.

Four ministers and several MPs have so far contracted coronavirus in South Africa, which has the highest numbers of diagnosed infections in Africa and ranks fifth in the world after the United States, Brazil, India and Russia.

On Monday, both Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi, 61, and Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe, 65, were separately admitted to hospital with the virus.

The fourth is Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, who has since recovered.

To date South Africa has recorded 434,200 cases of coronavirus, at least 6,655 of whom have died.