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President Museveni takes 'forced leave’ after contracting Covid

Oct 02, 2023Oct 02, 2023

Uganda President Yoweri Museveni starts self-isolation after testing positive for Covid-19. PHOTO | PPU

Uganda President Museveni said Thursday that he has taken "forced leave" and delegated his work for two days (June 8 and 9) to Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja barely a day after testing positive for Covid-19.

Museveni said he has been "very cautious with corona" but recently had to give up on facemasks because they were causing him allergic reactions in the eyes and the throat.

"Do you remember when I lost my voice twice during the elections? That is part of the allergy. I have, therefore, got the second forced leave in the last 53 years, ever since 1971, when we started fighting Idi Amin. One other time, was when I had a problem of sinuses and I had to lie low for some days at Mweya," the President, who has been in power since 1986 tweeted Thursday.

Museveni, 78, said he started experiencing mild flu-like symptoms on Tuesday but ignored the feeling and went on with his meetings in Entebbe as well as working on his voluminous State of the Nation address.

"Yesterday morning, however, I noticed some mild flu-like symptoms in one of the nostrils (the right one). That is when I called my doctors to take samples and rule out corona. They took three samples- one rapid and two PCRs. The rapid one was negative and so was one of the PCRs. However, one of the PCRs was positive. Taking precautionary measures, I traveled to Kololo, with a separate car from Mama's [First Lady Janet Museveni] car as the samples were taken back for reconfirmation. When I came back from Kololo, it was confirmed that I had corona," he explained.

Read: Museveni in 'robust' health after positive Covid-19 test

Since the height of the Covid-19 outbreak in 2020, President Museveni is always seen wearing a mask while social distancing in public. The veteran leader, who is vaccinated against the disease, is often seen seated alone and at a distance on the lawn of his office when meeting visitors.

On Wednesday, his personal doctor, Dr Diana Atwine, who is also the Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary, said the President was in "robust health".

The proposal, if it goes through, could mimic the EU which traditionally negotiates trade and global security policies jointly.