Syrian president and wife recover from COVID-19

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 30 2021 03:24 PM | Updated as of Mar 30 2021 03:25 PM

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad speaks during an interview with AFP news agency in Damascus. SANA Handout via Reuters/File

DAMASCUS - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his wife Asma have recovered from COVID-19 and have tested negative for the disease, the Syrian presidency said on Tuesday.

"After the end of the quarantine period, symptoms of COVID-19 and negative PCR results, President Bashar al-Assad and Mrs Asma al-Assad have resumed their work normally," the presidency said in a statement.

The Syrian presidency had announced that Assad and his wife, who announced her recovery from breast cancer in 2019, had tested positive on March 8.

Syria has seen a sharp rise in infections since mid-February, a member of the government's coronavirus advisory committee told Reuters last week as the country kicked off its vaccination campaign.

Assad joins a growing list of world leaders who have tested positive for COVID-19, alongside Britain's Boris Johnson, France's Emmanuel Macron and former US President Donald Trump.

Health workers said the authorities underplayed the size of the outbreak for most of last year, when official figures remained low as hospitals were overwhelmed and death notices appeared in newspapers.

The government denied undercounting the figures and has acknowledged in the last two months the country could be on the verge of a major spike. It has urged people to wear face masks, take sanitary measures and avoid crowded areas.

Officials and businessmen say the sanctions-hit government can ill afford a full lockdown given the dire state of the economy and growing poverty.

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