President Cyril Ramaphosa has tested negative for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), ending concerns that he may have been exposed in his line of duty.
The Presidency said Ramaphosa took a test as a precautionary measure after advice by his physicians on Tuesday. He received the results on Wednesday night.
"As Head of State and Chair of the National Command Council (NCC), the President has a rigorous public engagements schedule; and has, during the course of the last few weeks, held numerous meetings with a wide cross section of people from all walks of life.
"In line with international guidelines as well as those of the national Department of Health, testing is recommended if you experience symptoms, if you live in or recently travelled to an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19 or if you have been in close contact with someone known to have COVID-19," said The Presidency in a statement.
Concerns were raised after Ramaphosa held a meeting with leaders of political parties, among them African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) leader, Reverend Kenneth Meshoe, who had a week earlier attended a big religious conference hosted by the Divine Restoration Ministries in Ribblesdale, Bloemfontein. Five international tourists who attended that conference all tested positive for the new novel coronavirus.
Ramaphosa's office said it was important to inform South Africans about his test results.
"The Presidency has deemed it necessary to make the test results public to reassure the nation that the President is in good health and continues with his duties," it said in a statement.
Meshoe's test results are yet to be known.