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South African trade minister tests positive for coronavirus

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SOUTH Africa’s Trade Minister Ebrahim Patel has tested positive for Covid-19, the government has said.

He is the fourth minister in Africa’s hardest-hit country to contract the coronavirus.

Cabinet spokesman Phumla Williams said in a statement that Mr 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,” she said.

“Those that have been in contact with the minister are also in self-isolation and have been encouraged to get tested.”

Four ministers and several MPs have so far contracted the 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.

Last 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 the coronavirus, at least 6,655 of whom have died.

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