New Delhi, Aug 10 (efe-epa).- Former Indian president Pranab Mukherjee (2012-2017) said on Monday that he had tested positive for the new coronavirus, even as the country has registered over 2.2 million confirmed cases of the virus since the pandemic began.
“On a visit to the hospital for a separate procedure, I have tested positive for COVID-19 today. I request the people who came in contact with me in the last week, to please self isolate and get tested for COVID-19,” Mukherjee tweeted.
The 84-year-old leader did not specify if he would be getting treated at the hospital or stay in self-isolation.
Social media was abuzz with the news soon after, as various leaders expressed concern and wished for the recovery of the former president, who had a long political career as leader of the Indian National Congress party – now in the opposition – before being appointed the ceremonial head of state.
“Please take care sir. We are praying for your speedy recovery and good health,” Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted.
“I pray for the well being and speedy recovery of Shri Pranab Mukherjee. I am confident he will be successful in recovering from the virus quickly. Wishing him strength and good health,” said Railways, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal, also on Twitter.
Mukherjee is the latest high-profile politician in the country to contract the virus, after Home Minister Amit Shah and Shivraj Singh Chauhan, the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh – a central province – had tested positive for the disease in recent weeks.
India had registered over 2.2 million Covid-19 cases and 44,386 deaths due to the disease by Monday.
The country, which has the second largest population worldwide, is the third worst-affected by the pandemic in terms of number of infections after the United States and Russia, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker.
Although the number of cases have risen quickly during the past months, the government has gone ahead with its plan to relax restrictions in a phased manner since the beginning of June, hoping to jump-start its economy after imposing one of the toughest lockdowns in the world on Mar. 25.
On Aug. 1, authorities further relaxed the restrictions in the third unlocking phase by removing the limitations on movement.
Almost all outdoor activities are now allowed except for containment zones that house a sizable number of active cases, but bars, subway, and cinemas remain closed throughout the country. EFE-EPA