Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif—who has reportedly been unwell since at least Saturday—has diagnosed positive for the coronavirus, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb announced on Tuesday.
“Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is COVID-positive,” she said in a posting on Twitter, adding that he had been unwell for the past two days. “On the recommendations of doctors, he was tested for the coronavirus today (Tuesday),” she said, as she appealed to the nation and Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) workers to pray for the health of the prime minister.
This is the third time that Sharif, a cancer survivor, has tested positive for COVID-19. He initially contracted the virus in June 2020 and then got re-infected in January 2022.
While it is unclear how the prime minister contracted the virus this time, he spent the last week traveling from a climate change summit in Sharm el-Sheikh to meetings with his elder brother, PMLN leader Nawaz Sharif, in London. In both Egypt and the U.K., Sharif participated in several meetings with a large group of people, with spotty mask compliance to avoid the spread of COVID-19.
Sharif was initially scheduled to return to Pakistan on Saturday but delayed his journey due to ill health. He finally reached Islamabad on Sunday night.
There has been an outpouring of prayers for the prime minister’s early recovery since Aurangzeb announced his diagnosis.