Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his wife, Asma, have tested positive for Covid-19. The Assads were in “stable condition” and planned to self-isolate for two or three weeks, the statement said. In 2018, Asma al-Assad, 45, underwent treatment for breast cancer, which the presidency said had been detected early. A year later, she said she recovered fully. Their isolation period comes ahead of the 10-year anniversary of Syria’s civil war. Assad has been repeatedly accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity during Syria’s decade-long ongoing war. His government in Damascus has denied the charges. Syria has recorded at least 45,879 positive Covid-19 cases and 2,023 total deaths. In the Kurdish-held northeast, the Kurdish authorities have announced a total of 8,689 cases and 368 deaths.
Syria has seen a sharp rise in COVID-19 infections since mid-February but lockdown options remain limited due to the country’s dire economic situation. With a collapsed healthcare system, battered economy and a severe lack of doctors and nurses due to medical providers fleeing Syria’s brutal war, authorities face a difficult time to control the spread of COVID-19. The Syrian health ministry warned of a rise in infections earlier this month, urging compliance with coronavirus measures.