Mar 8, 2021 - World

Syria's Bashar al-Assad tests positive for coronavirus

Assad

Photo: Joseph Eid/AFP via Getty Images

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad and his wife, Asma, tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday, according to a statement from his office.

The state of play: The 55-year-old dictator and his 45-year-old wife, who is a breast cancer survivor, are showing mild symptoms but are in stable condition, according to Assad's office. They will self-isolate for two weeks.

The big picture: Syria has reported nearly 16,000 coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic, but the true extent of the outbreak in the war-torn country is unknown due to sparse testing resources.

  • The New York Times reported last month that Israel secretly agreed to send Syria some vaccine doses as part of a prisoner swap. Both countries deny the report.
  • Syria has authorized the use of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine and is signed onto the global COVAX initiative, which seeks to ensure that every country has access to COVID-19 vaccines.
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