Newcastle mayor tests positive for Covid-19 but 'is in good spirits'

15 July 2020 - 11:10
By Nivashni Nair
Newcastle mayor Ntuthuko Mahlaba  is self-isolating at home.
Image: supplied Newcastle mayor Ntuthuko Mahlaba is self-isolating at home.

Newcastle mayor Ntuthuko Mahlaba has tested positive for Covid-19.

Municipal spokesperson Mlungisi Khumalo said Mahlaba decided to test for the virus after coming into contact with a person who had tested positive.

“As a precautionary measure and to ascertain the extent of the risk of exposure to others, and as gazetted in the Covid-19 regulations, Dr Mahlaba will self-isolate at home and monitor his health. The mayor will continue to execute his mayoral duties via virtual platforms and provide much-needed advice on dealing with the novel coronavirus. He is in good health and has not displayed any symptoms yet,” he said.

Mahlaba said he was “coping well” and in good spirits.  

“While in isolation, I’ve encouraged everyone who I’ve been in close contact with to go and test for the virus, especially members of my staff. I urge anyone who displays symptoms to immediately test to prevent transmission. I’ll remain in isolation for the next 14 days, while carrying out my mayoral duties,” said Mahlaba.

He appealed to Newcastle residents to unite more than ever, practise social distancing and show empathy to those who have been diagnosed with the virus, as the municipality grapples with an increase in cases.

The municipality confirmed that five municipal employees have been diagnosed with Covid-19.

“The employees are in isolation, and in line with the Covid-19 department of health protocols, four units have been closed until necessary disinfection and decontamination measures are conducted. Employees who have been in contact with the staff members will also undergo testing and self-isolation,” Khumalo said.

The Newcastle library, Charlestown library, the town planning unit and the supply chain management unit will remain temporarily closed because of positive cases.