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India’s home minister joins list of BJP figures with Covid-19
Amy Kazmin in New Delhi
One of India’s most senior leaders has been admitted to hospital with the potentially deadly coronavirus, one among a series of top Bharatiya Janata party stalwarts to be afflicted.
Amit Shah, the powerful home minister, tweeted that he had been tested after showing “initial symptoms.”
BS Yeddyurappa, chief minister of the BJP-ruled southern state of Karnataka, also confirmed that he had been infected with the deadly pathogen on Sunday night, and was in hospital.
He is the second state chief minister to be afflicted with the virus, after the BJP’s Shivraj Singh Chouhan of Madhya Pradesh tested positive last week.
Mr Shah appealed to all those who had come in contact with him in recent days to isolate themselves and get tested.
He is last known to have met prime minister Narendra Modi at a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, though Indian officials said on Sunday that the prime minister was following social distancing protocols.
Mr Shah has also appeared at some public functions. He has been at the forefront of efforts to persuade Indians that their country has fared far better than more advanced, wealthier nations.
The home minister, pictured at right with Mr Modi at a 2017 rally, recently declared that India was fighting one of the world’s “most successful” battles against coronavirus.
Yet India has been hard hit by coronavirus, with more than 52,700 people testing positive for the virus in the past 24 hours, exceeding the number of new cases in the US.
In total, India has so far confirmed 1.8m infections, of whom 38,171 have died, including more than 750 on Sunday.
Among those who died this weekend was Kamal Rani, a member of the cabinet of the BJP state government in Uttar Pradesh.
Another UP state cabinet minister, Mahendra Singh, the minister of water, and the Swatantra Dev Singh, the chief of the BJP in the state, also tested positive for the virus on Sunday.
BJP veteran Banwarilal Purohit, 80, now serving as governor of the southern state of Tamil Nadu, also tested positive for coronavirus on Sunday and was admitted to hospital.