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The pandemic remains among us, says Health Minister Joe Phaahla as he tests positive for Covid-19

Health Minister Joe Phaahla has tested positive for Covid-19, department urges vigilance. Picture: Ofentse Ramaboa

Health Minister Joe Phaahla has tested positive for Covid-19, department urges vigilance. Picture: Ofentse Ramaboa

Published Jul 19, 2022

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The Department of Health has reminded South Africans to remain vigilant against Covid-19 as Minister Joe Phaahla tested positive on Tuesday after experiencing minor symptoms.

Health spokesperson Foster Mohale said the minister immediately self-isolated after receiving his results and will continue to perform his official duties from home for a week.

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“The Department of Health would like to remind the public that lifting Covid-19 restrictions does not mean the pandemic is over.

“This is a reminder that the pandemic still remains among us and is infectious, hence the department continues to report Covid-19 daily positive cases and deaths,” said Mohale in a communication.

Four weeks ago the health department repealed regulations regarding the wearing of masks as well as a regulation on the numbers permitted at a gathering and rules around vaccinations for people entering the country.

The lifting of restrictions came after the country experienced an unofficial fifth wave caused by the Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5.

Phaahla has received two doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine which he believes has boosted his immunity against the severity of the virus.

The department encouraged South Africans to receive their vaccinations.

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More than 20.2 million citizens have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine since the start of the roll-out in February 2021.

This represents 50.7% of the country’s adult population.

On Monday, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) reported 171 new Covid-19 cases and four deaths.

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The majority of new cases are from Gauteng, the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.

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