Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has said he has contracted Covid-19 after one of three tests conducted on him turned out positive.
Mr. Museveni, who gave a State of the Nation address earlier on Wednesday, said he had developed a slight cold, prompting him to get tested.
The permanent secretary of the health ministry, Diana Atwine, said the president had developed mild flu-like symptoms but was in good health and would continue his duties.
She said the president would adhere to standard operating procedures for Covid cases while performing his role.
However, the 78-year-old leader of Uganda announced on Thursday that he had taken a “forced leave of absence” after testing positive for Covid-19.
“Yesterday morning, I noticed symptoms resembling mild flu,” the head of state wrote in a statement, adding that a test had confirmed that he had been infected with the Covid-19 virus.
“I have therefore isolated myself… (and) I have delegated my work for today and tomorrow to Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja”, he added.
“Thank God all is well, and I am only experiencing mild symptoms. However, I still prefer to take precautions and isolate myself for the time being”, he added.
Mr. Museveni, one of the world’s longest-serving leaders, has ruled his small East African country with an iron fist for several decades.
Once hailed as a reformer, he took the reins of Uganda in 1986, helping to end the authoritarian regimes of Idi Amin Dada and Milton Obote.
But the former rebel leader has since cracked down on dissent and changed the constitution to keep himself in power.
In Uganda, the repression of civil society, lawyers, and activists has increased in recent years, according to many human rights organizations.
According to the Ministry of Health, Uganda has officially recorded 170,255 cases of coronavirus infection and 3,632 deaths since the start of the pandemic in 2020.
Meanwhile, the president signed new anti-LGBTQ legislation last month.
Museveni “has assented to the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2023. It now becomes the Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023,”