Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has contracted Covid-19 after one of three tests he took on Wednesday turned positive for the coronavirus.
Speaking during the State of The Nation address on June 7 at the Kololo Ceremonial Grounds, the President said he had been feeling unwell, which prompted him to take the tests.
“This morning, I was feeling as if I had a cold. I took a rapid Covid test which indicated negative. However, my samples were taken for a deeper analysis. One was negative and the other positive. So, I am a suspect of corona as I speak. That’s why I came in a separate car with Mama [First Lady Janet Museveni],” he said.
Since the height of the Covid-19 outbreak in 2020, President Museveni, 78, 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.
He also instituted strict containment measures, including the closure of markets, schools and borders, as well as curfews. He reopened the economy in February 2022.
During State functions, guests often are required to take the Covid-19 test, as was the case for the State of the Nation address boycotted by opposition members of Parliament, protesting what they described as “careless spending”, especially on “costly Covid-19 tests” for anyone to attend the President’s public meetings.
The Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary Dr Diana Atwine, Museveni’s personal doctor, said the President was in “robust health”.
“The President on Wednesday tested positive for Covid-19. This was after developing mild flu-like symptoms. However, he is in robust health and continues to perform his duties normally while adhering to standard operating procedures,” she tweeted moments after Museveni’s address.
Earlier, opposition leader Mathias Mpuuga in Parliament slammed the State House, arguing that testing for Covid-19 before meeting the President wastes public resources that could be channelled into other developmental activities.
“WHO declared an end to Covid-19 as a global health emergency. However, Museveni continues to waste public resources on specific companies owned by individuals close to the regime on Covid tests whenever he meets people both at his home and other parts of the country,” Mr Mpuuga told journalists hours before Museveni’s address.
He then advised the President and his family to take a booster dose if he was “anxious about Covid-19.”
During the address, however, the President said Uganda’s health capacity in vaccine development and other interventions like spreading malaria awareness and prevention had been strengthened over the last three years after the outbreak of Covid-19.
- Additional reporting by Monitor