Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni announced on Thursday that he would be taking “forced leave” and entrusting his duties to Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja for two days, June 8 and 9. This decision comes just a day after President Museveni tested positive for Covid-19.
President Museveni explained that despite being cautious about the coronavirus, he had to stop wearing facemasks due to allergic reactions affecting his eyes and throat.
He likened these reactions to instances during the recent elections when he lost his voice. This forced leave is only the second time he has taken leave in the past 53 years, with the first being due to sinus problems.
The 78-year-old President started experiencing mild flu-like symptoms on Tuesday but initially disregarded them and continued with his meetings in Entebbe and working on his State of the Nation Address.
On Wednesday morning, however, President Museveni noticed flu-like symptoms in one of his nostrils and immediately contacted his doctors to conduct Covid-19 tests.
Three samples were taken, including one rapid test and two PCRs. The rapid test and one PCR came back negative, but one PCR confirmed that he had contracted the virus. As a precautionary measure, he separated from his wife and traveled to Kololo for further confirmation of the test results.
This announcement comes after the World Health Organization (WHO) recently declared Covid-19 as a long-term managed pandemic rather than a global health emergency.
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus cautioned that the virus is still present, causing deaths and undergoing mutations, and emphasized the importance of remaining vigilant in the fight against the pandemic.
The WHO initially declared a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) on January 30, 2020, weeks after the virus was first detected in China.
However, it wasn’t until March 11, 2020, when Tedros declared Covid-19 as a pandemic, that many countries fully recognized the gravity of the situation and implemented measures to combat the spread of the virus.