Possible coronavirus exposure in presidency after staff member sent home

19 March 2020 - 20:51
By Kgothatso Madisa
The presidency, which is the country's department of heads of state like President Cyril Ramaphosa, has sent a staff member home after being suspected of contracting coronavirus.
Image: GCIS The presidency, which is the country's department of heads of state like President Cyril Ramaphosa, has sent a staff member home after being suspected of contracting coronavirus.

There are fears of possible coronavirus exposure in the presidency after a staffer was sent home for self-isolation and testing.

This is contained in an internal newsletter leaked to SowetanLIVE that was sent to staff at the Union Buildings on Thursday.

The email says that the staff member had reported to their manager that they may have come in contact with someone who has now tested positive for the novel Covid-19.

“There was a staff member who reported to their manager that they may have crossed paths with someone who has tested positive the coronavirus,” the email reads.

“This member of staff has gone for testing with support staff of the Presidency.”

The revelation comes as the number of confirmed cases rose to 150 affecting most of the provinces.

The spokesperson for the presidency, Khusela Diko, confirmed the case and said the employee was an intern working in the office’s finance unit.

“Yes we can confirm that an intern in the finance unit in the presidency reported that he may have crossed paths with someone diagnosed with the coronavirus,” Diko said.

“The employee himself has not been diagnosed with the virus nor is he exhibiting any symptoms thereof.”

She said the intern along with the immediate colleagues were sent home and would self-isolate and only be allowed to go back to work after testing and observing the prescribed 14-day quarantine period.

“As a precautionary measure, the employee and others in the unit in which he works were directed to go home and self-isolate until they have been tested for the virus. “Any further action will be taken once they have been tested and their results are known,” she said. 

The email urged staff to keep calm as there were no confirmed cases in the office and should any of them display symptoms of the virus they should immediately call a staff nurse who would take their temperature and would advise on further action.

The email further said that management had a “plan” that would be communicated to staff shortly. It was not immediate clear what the plan was and if whether it had to do with working from home.