JOHANNESBURG 

South Africa’s health minister and his wife tested positive for the novel coronavirus as cases continued to surge in the country. 

“I wish to inform the public that this afternoon my wife Dr. May Mkhize and I have tested positive for COVID-19,” Zweli Mkhize tweeted late Sunday.

The top health official said he tested for COVID-19 on Saturday after he started showing mild symptoms.

“I am now in quarantine at home and both my wife and I remain optimistic that we will fully recover from this virus,” he said.

The minister urged South Africans to continue adhering to health protocols such as wearing face masks, social distancing and washing or sanitizing their hands.

He said the country has made significant strides in its fight against the pandemic.

South Africa, which used to be among the top six most-affected countries in the world, is now the 12th most-affected with the highest number of cases on the continent.

The country recorded 1,662 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 703,793 with 18,471 confirmed deaths. More than 600,000 people have recovered from the virus.

Over 4.5 million people have been tested for the virus since it was first detected in the country seven months ago.

Mkhize, who has been at the forefront of the fight against the pandemic, said he would use this quarantine period to rest and recharge as he hopes to come back energized to improve the health services of his country.

John Nkengasong, Director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), wished Mkhize and wife a speedy recovery.

“We strongly support your appeal to all South Africans to not neglect public health measures,” he said Monday on Twitter.

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