Photo: Pexels
Photo: Pexels

Pakistan President Dr Arif Alvi and Defence Minister Pervez Khattak have tested positive for COVID-19, it emerged on Monday, nearly a week after Prime Minister Imran Khan had contracted the disease. They are not alone. a day after his removal from the Pakistan Cabinet, former Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh has also tested positive for COVID-19. The news was confirmed by the newly-appointed Finance Minister Hammad Azhar on Tuesday via Twitter.

"I have tested positive for COVID-19. May Allah have mercy on all COVID-affected. Had first dose of the vaccine but antibodies start developing after second dose that was due in a week. Please continue to be careful," the president tweeted on Monday. The exact date when Alvi, 71, contracted the disease or the day of detection was not made public.

First Lady Samina Alvi tested negative for COVID-19 and was quarantining. She said the president has "mild symptoms but is in good spirits".

Later, Sindh Governor Imran Ismail tweeted that Defence Minister Perwaiz Khattak, 71, had also tested positive for the virus. "Perwaiz Khatak is diagnosed with Covid positive. Get well soon PK," wrote Ismail, who himself contracted and recovered from the virus last year.

Several local leaders and foreign envoys expressed food wishes for the president. Chinese Ambassador Nong Rong wished President Alvi a "speedy and complete recovery" while British High Commissioner Christian Turner wished him a "speedy recovery".

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi wrote: "Wishing President Arif Alvi and Defence Minister Pervez Khattak quick recoveries and the best of health." Pakistan is in the grip of a third wave of the coronavirus. The government has decided to impose fresh restrictions on social gatherings from April 5, with steady rise in cases and low supply of vaccines.

Prime Minister Khan, 68, tested positive for the coronavirus on March 20. His wife Bushra Bibi also tested coronavirus positive the same day.

The coronavirus has claimed 14,256 lives, along with 659,116 confirmed infections in Pakistan so far.

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Free Press Journal