Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 26 November 2020

CORONAVIRUS

Algerian president in hospital after self-isolating

Abdelmadjid Tebboune's hospital admission comes days before a critical referendum on changes to the constitution

A woman walks past posters promoting the vote for the upcoming referendum, Tuesday. AP
A woman walks past posters promoting the vote for the upcoming referendum, Tuesday. AP

Algeria’s President Abdelmadjid Tebboune was admitted to a specialised treatment ward in an army hospital, his office said on Tuesday, days before a critical referendum on constitutional changes he has pushed for.

The state media report did not reveal whether Mr Tebboune, 75, had tested positive for the coronavirus, but the presidential office said he was still working as his condition was stable and there was no need for alarm.

 Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune speaks during a press conference in Algiers, Algeria, in December 2019. EPA
Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune speaks during a press conference in Algiers. EPA

Mr Tebboune, 75, said on Saturday that he would go into self-isolation after several senior aides tested positive for 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.

“I assure you, my brothers and sisters, that I am well and healthy and that I continue my work,” he said at the time.

If his illness is confirmed as Covid-19, he would be among a small group of world leaders to have contracted the virus, including US President Donald Trump, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.

Mr Tebboune is in hospital at a critical moment in his efforts to turn a page on last year’s massive street protests that forced his predecessor Abdelaziz Bouteflika from power after 20 years.

Elected in December, Mr Tebboune pushed for a new constitution that limits presidential terms and grants more power to parliament and judiciary. It will be put to a referendum on Sunday.

The coronavirus-induced slowdown hit Algeria’s economy as it battled long-term challenges posed by the decline in oil and gas revenue that finances its historically lavish state spending.

Algeria had more than 56,700 confirmed cases of the virus and 1,931 deaths as of Wednesday.

Updated: October 29, 2020 03:00 AM

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