Syrian President Bashar al-Assad tests positive for Covid-19

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his wife tested positive for Covid-19, the Syrian presidency said in a statement on Monday.

The president and his wife, Asma al-Assad, were tested for the coronavirus after experiencing “mild symptoms,” according to the statement, which confirmed the test was positive.

“Both are in good health and in stable condition, and will continue to work during their home quarantine period that will last two or three weeks,” added the statement published on social networks.

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Assad joins a growing list of world leaders who have tested positive for coronavirus, including French President Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and former President Donald Trump.

The news comes the same month that the country celebrates 10 years of war that has killed hundreds of thousands of people, displaced half the population and decimated its economy.

More than half of the Syrian population cannot afford a basic meal with the price of staples more than 200 percent higher than at this time last year, according to the United Nations.

Assad has been in power since 2000 and his family has ruled Syria for half a century. Syria is due to hold presidential elections in May and Assad is expected to win a fourth consecutive term in office.

In 2014, he won 88.7 percent of the vote, and the opposition and its Western allies declared it a sham, according to The Associated Press.

Syria has recorded nearly 16,000 virus cases, as well as 1,063 deaths, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

However, these cases are only those recorded in government-controlled areas and the number of cases is believed to be much higher, as limited amounts of testing are conducted, according to the AP.

Syria’s state news agency SANA reported last month that the country would launch its vaccination campaign in the first week of March, starting with front-line health workers.

Health Minister Hassan Al-Ghobash said Syria had received a quantity of the vaccine “from a friendly country” without giving further details, according to SANA.

The official statement released Monday did not say whether Assad and his wife were vaccinated.

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