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JOHANNESBURG: South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has returned to work after spending a week in isolation following a positive Covid test, his office said Monday.

Ramaphosa, 69, who is fully vaccinated, felt unwell after leaving a state memorial service for former president FW de Klerk in Cape Town on December 12 as his nation battles an exponential increase in cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant.

"President Cyril Ramaphosa has ended a week of self-isolation which followed his positive test for COVID-19 on 12 December 2021," his office said in a statement.

"The President has returned to duty and will chair the final Cabinet meeting for 2021 on Wednesday, 22 December 2021.

Covid surge in Africa, but fewer deaths than before: WHO

"President Ramaphosa repeats his call for everyone in the country to stay safe by being vaccinated, wearing face masks, washing or sanitising hands frequently, maintaining a social distance and avoiding gatherings."

South Africa, where the highly mutated Omicron variant was first detected last month, is Africa's worst-hit country according to official tallies of virus cases, with more than 3.3 million infections logged and more than 90,000 deaths.

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