South African politicians test positive for COVID-19

The leader of the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) in South Africa and his whip tested positive for the coronavirus, the party said late Friday.

The Reverend Kenneth Meshoe and Steve Swart attended a prayer breakfast earlier this month in Free State province where they were in contact with five international visitors.

The visitors from the U.S, Israel and France later tested for the virus after feeling sick. “The results of these tests were made known on 19-20 March, with the five visitors testing positive for COVID-19,” ACDP said.

According to health officials several people who attended the prayer also tested positive for the virus. The party said the leaders have since been self-isolating.

The number of COVID-19 cases in South Africa stands at 1,170 according to a statement Friday by Health Minister Zweli Mkhize. He said there was an increase of 243 cases overnight.

South Africa recorded its first death Friday from COVID-19. After emerging in Wuhan, China last December, the virus has spread to at least 175 countries and regions.

The number of confirmed cases worldwide has now surpassed 593,000, while the death toll is above 27,000 but greater than 130,000 have recovered, according to data compiled by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University. Despite the rising number of cases, most who contract the virus suffer mild symptoms before making a recovery.