S Africa's provincial health minister contracts COVID-19 after getting vaccination shots

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Johannesburg, May 21 (PTI) The health minister of Gauteng province in South Africa, Dr Nomathemba Mokgethi, has contracted COVID-19 despite being vaccinated in the first phase of the country’s vaccination plan.

Mokgethi had mild symptoms before she went to test on Tuesday, said a statement released by the Gauteng provincial government.

She is currently in isolation at home as a precautionary measure, although she has no severe symptoms.

“All persons who were in contact with her have been advised to self-isolate and test if necessary,” the statement said.

Amid a slow take-up countrywide in the second phase of the vaccination plan, which targets people over 60, the province urged people to take advantage of the vaccine.

'The COVID-19 vaccine prevents severe illness, hospitalisation and death,” it said.

“The public is encouraged to continue to adhere to non-pharmaceutical interventions, even after they have been vaccinated.” There are growing concerns that Gauteng province is now experiencing a third wave of the pandemic, which is expected to be aggravated as the cold winter weather sets in.

Gauteng premier David Makhura earlier made an impassioned plea to residents to adhere to the COVID-19 protocols and to avoid complacency to avoid further shutdowns.

Makhura said further lockdown restrictions would have a severe impact on the economy of the commercial hub of South Africa.

There are also growing concerns about reports of children as young as ten now being infected by variants of the virus.

Three of the largest private schools in Johannesburg were shutdown last week after learners and teachers were infected. PTI FH PMS PMS PMS