During his weekly presidential address, Ramanposa recalled that "as a society, we have a collective responsibility to stamp out the stigmatization of people infected with the coronavirus".
"Just as we came together to promote acceptance of people living with HIV and stood firm against victimization, we must show understanding, tolerance, kindness, empathy, and compassion for those who are infected with this virus and for their families", the president added.
The World Health Organization has warned about social stigma threatening COVID-19 response as possible cases remain silent over their symptoms, fearing to be rejected or expelled from their communities.
A short report by the international organization Save the Children conducted in April revealed that in Africa, over 3000 people find stigmatization of COVID-19 risks hindering efforts to slow the spread of the virus.
Particularly in Subsaharan Africa, prejudice against those affected by the virus, including frontline health workers and diaspora communities and their families, is contributing to stigmatization.
However, as South Africa prepares for another epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in the region of Gauteng, the president warned that "it may be that things have gotten worse, but we are certain that they will get better."
The country reports 144,264 cases; 2,529 deaths and 70,614 recovered so far.