International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) Minister Naledi Pandor continued bilateral meetings with her counterparts at the Group of Seven in London on Wednesday, despite having been in a meeting with her Indian counterpart, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, the day before.
Jaishankar was forced to go into isolation and continue online, on the second and final day of the two-day meeting after two members of his delegation tested positive for Covid-19.
India is currently in the grip of a severe Covid-19 resurgence, with its health system struggling to cope.
Travellers arriving from South Africa are subject to a strict quarantine period because of the more infectious Covid-19 variant in circulation, but the official delegation appeared not to have been subject to this.
Pandor’s spokesperson, Lunga Ngqengelele, said Pandor would “neither self-isolate or quarantine”.
He said the meeting was convened, fully aware that the world was in the grip of Covid-19, and with safety protocols, like social distancing and the wearing of masks, in place.
“All measures were taken to ensure the safety of all delegates, including taking daily rapid tests, which have all come back negative for the South African delegation,” he said.
Ngqengelele said Pandor had not yet been vaccinated, but was registered and awaiting the rollout.
The meeting is a precursor to the G7 summit set to take place in Cornwall in South-West England from 11 to 13 June.
President Cyril Ramaphosa was invited to attend the summit because he is regarded as having led the African Union well through the initial stages of the pandemic. He was the chairperson in 2020.
Pandor attended the meeting, alongside her Australian and South Korean counterparts, as guests.
The international relations and cooperation department said, in a press release, the meeting and summit would focus on how to rebuild after the devastating effect of Covid-19 lockdowns on the economy.
The meeting also discussed proposed policy goals for the G7, including promoting and defending open societies, leading a sustainable recovery through championing action on climate change, famine prevention, girls’ education and renewing global partnerships, based on shared values.