File:President Cyril Ramaphosa and the new Free State Premier, Sisi Ntombela.
Free State Premier Sisi Ntombela has become the latest provincial head to test positive for COVID-19.
The MEC for Health, Montseng Tsiu and the Director-General (DG) in the Free State Provincial Government, Kopung Ralikontsane, were confirmed to have contracted Coronavirus over the weekend.
According to the provincial government, the Premier, who received her results on Tuesday, will continue to carry out her work responsibilities while in isolation, until she has fully recovered or advised otherwise by healthcare professionals.
The MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), Thembeni Nxangisa, will be the acting MEC for health until Tsiu has fully recuperated.
The Deputy DG for Policy, Planning and Governance, Thuso Ramaema, will be standing in for Ralikontsane from 12 - 26 October 2020.
The fight against the virus is far from over, the province warned.
“Although we have made progress in curbing the spread of the virus, it has not been eliminated and thus, people must continue to exercise extreme cautiousness.
“We urge others to be responsible and accountable for their actions. Our ultimate challenge now is that there are communities, which are no longer adhering to regulations and observing the necessary protocols, which is putting the lives of citizens in danger,” said Ntombela said on Wednesday.
She warned that many people who contract the virus do not have symptoms and could "unsuspectingly" infect others.
“Our most important duty now in dealing with this pandemic is to ensure that we do not experience a new, rapid surge in infections, which will result in the second wave.”
The provincial government has once again urged all citizens to play their part in observing the necessary protocols of washing hands and sanitising regularly, wearing a mask when in public, and physical distancing.
The province has also called on people to protect the elderly and those who suffer from comorbidities.
Meanwhile, those who choose to visit places of entertainment or travel for leisure must do so responsibly, the provincial government pleaded.
The province said the safe and free government quarantine facilities are still available in the province for those seeking isolation.
Citizens are further urged to call the 0800 535 554 hotline for any other assistance or enquires related to COVID-19.