Algeria’s President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has been transferred to a hospital in Germany for medical examination a day after being admitted to military hospital in Algiers after a number of his close advisers tested positive for Covid-19.
It is not clear if the president has contracted the coronavirus and his office gave no indication what he is being treated for.
Mr Tebboune, 75, was admitted to a specialised treatment ward in a military hospital on Tuesday. This came three days after he said he would self-isolate as a precaution against the coronavirus.
“I assure you, my brothers and sisters, that I am well and healthy and that I continue my work,” he said at the time.
While it is unclear if his condition is related to Covid-19, Algerian leaders have in the past sought treatment in Europe for serious medical problems.
The news comes days before a critical referendum on proposed constitutional changes that have little backing on the streets 18 months after mass protests forced ailing president Abdelaziz Bouteflika to step down after 20 years in charge.
Meanwhile, in neighbouring Tunisia on Thursday Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi announced a new nationwide lockdown.
Movement will be prohibited between 8pm and 5am Monday to Friday, and 7pm and 5am on Saturday and Sunday.
Travelling between states has been prohibited, except for work and exceptional cases.
Tunisia’s health ministry said on Wednesday that the coronavirus pandemic had become “very dangerous”, with 2,125 new infections and 52 deaths recorded over the past 48 hours.
The death toll now exceeds 1,150 and infection cases topped 55,000. Medical sources told Reuters that intensive care units in most state hospitals had reached maximum capacity.