President of Suriname, Chan Santokhi has tested positive for COVID-19 while several members of his Cabinet who were in contact with him in recent days are being tested for the highly contagious virus.
In an address to the nation on Sunday, Santokhi said he was feeling strong and had no symptoms of the virus, but would remain at home on the advice of health authorities. He is in isolation at his private residence where he said he will be working for the next few days.
The government’s information service, CDS said contact tracing is underway and the process of testing everyone who had been in contact with President Santokhi should be completed by Tuesday.
So far, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, International Business & International Cooperation, Spatial Zoning and Environment and Finance and Planning have tested negative.
According to the CDS press release, the Office of the President is being disinfected and Cabinet Ministers were instructed to work from home for the next three days and encouraged not to entertain visitors. They were also advised to take necessary precautions at home until they have been tested and get a negative result.
Meantime, President Santokhi has called on residents to adhere strictly to the government’s COVID-19 measures to help prevent the spread of the virus.
There have been 7,246 confirmed COVID-19 cases recorded in Suriname since the start of the pandemic.
The death toll has reached 149. In January alone, 28 people died from the disease, making this month the deadliest since the virus was detected in Suriname in March 2020.