World news

Syrian president Bashar Assad and his wife recover from coronavirus

Syrian president Bashar Assad and his wife tested positive for coronavirus earlier this month. Picture by Vahid Salemi/AP
Bassem Mroue, Associated Press

Syrian president Bashar Assad and his wife have recovered from Covid-19 and returned to their regular duties, three weeks after they had tested positive for coronavirus, the president’s office said.

According to the statement, they had their PCR tests and the results were negative, and the mild symptoms of the virus that they had experienced before were now gone.

Mr Assad, 55, and his wife, Asma, who is 10 years younger and had announced her recovery from breast cancer in 2019, had isolated themselves since testing positive on March 8.

The president’s office said he headed a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, his first public appearance in weeks.

Syria is witnessing a sharp increase in cases.

Earlier this month, state media reported that intensive care units in hospitals in the capital Damascus were full and that medical staff have been called to stay on alert to deal with coronavirus patients.

Syria has been mired in civil war for 10 years since anti-government protests that began as part of Arab Spring uprisings turned into an insurgency in response to a military crackdown.

A decade of fighting has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people and displaced millions.

Syrian authorities have so far registered more than 18,000 cases of coronavirus and 1,247 deaths in government-held parts of the country, where the first case was reported in March last year.

According to the World Health Organisation, there are nearly 21,000 cases in the last rebel stronghold in Syria’s northwest along the border with Turkey, as well as some 9,000 cases in areas controlled by US-backed Kurdish-led fighters in the northeast.

The real numbers are believed to be much higher, as testing is limited.

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

World news