Western Cape health MEC self-isolating after French consul general tests positive

18 March 2020 - 20:23 By Naledi Shange
Western Cape health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo was in meetings with French consul general Laurent Amar days before he tested positive.
Western Cape health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo was in meetings with French consul general Laurent Amar days before he tested positive.
Image: Sipokazi Fokazi

French consul general Laurent Amar in Cape Town confirmed on Wednesday that he had tested positive for Covid-19.

Amar's going public to alert all of those who he has come into contact with prompted Western Cape health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo to almost immediately put herself into self-quarantine. The two have recently been in contact.

Amar made his announcement on Twitter.

“Dear all, I have just been informed that I have been tested positive #covid19. Just want to share this with all potential contacts to break the chain of transmission and assure you that I will come back stronger soon,” he tweeted.

It was not immediately clear when or where Amar contracted the virus.

Mbombo tweeted this response: 

Western Cape premier Alan Winde later confirmed that Mbombo would be in self-quarantine.

"Due to her close engagement with him two days prior to him [Amar] showing symptoms, Western Cape health minister Nomafrench Mbombo has undertaken to complete a period of self-quarantine as of this afternoon as a precaution," he said.

"She will be monitoring herself for any symptoms – such as a cough or fever - whilst working full-time from home."

Winde moved to allay fears that he too may have contracted the virus after being in meetings with Mbombo on Wednesday. 

"I have taken advice from our team of expert medical professionals around what is the appropriate course of action for me to take in such circumstances. I know there are many members of the public that are concerned for my health, who have reached out to me after seeing me seated next to the minister on our Facebook live session just earlier this afternoon," he said in a statement. 

"I would like to be clear: our medical experts have advised that there is no need for me to self-quarantine or be tested at this time. I have noted and appreciate the above advice of our highly competent teams."

As a safety precaution, Winde had already started working from home earlier this week.  He will continue to do so.

"My office has already prepared for me to take my important meetings over the phone, and I will be hosting the cabinet meeting and other engagements over teleconferencing," he said.

"I believe this is an effective and innovative way for us to conduct our business going forward, and once again implore all businesses that can allow some or all of their employees to work from home to do so.

"I will be working full steam ahead, with my primary focus being on limiting the spread of this virus.

"Limiting the spread of this virus is up to us all."

Winde said it was "imperative and urgent" that all residents follow these steps:

  • wash your hands properly for 20 seconds every half an hour;
  • cough or sneeze into a tissue or the crook of your arm, and bin dirty tissues straight away;
  • keep a distance between yourself and others;
  • do not touch anyone, and do not touch your own face unless you have just washed your hands; and
  • stay at home if you can - especially if you feel any signs of illness.

"Together, let’s stop the spread," he added.