Ex-President on ventilator support after testing Covid positive
Former President Pranab Mukherjee, 84, was put on ventilator support on Monday after undergoing a brain surgery at the Army Research and Referral hospital, where he was admitted in the morning after testing positive for coronavirus disease (Covid-19). He tested positive while undergoing routine check-up.
“On a visit to the hospital for a separate procedure, I have tested positive for Covid-19 today. I request the people who came in contact with me in the last week, to please self isolate and get tested for Covid-19,” Mukherjee tweeted on Monday afternoon.
Officials aware of the developments said the former president was on ventilator after undergoing a successful brain surgery for removal of a clot.
Mukherjee, president between 2012 and 2017, kept his public interactions minimal after the pandemic struck the country in January. In his Rajaji Marg residence in New Delhi, he stopped all gatherings and only met a handful of people.
According to the officials quoted above, he is under close monitoring in the hospital. Army R&R has been Mukherjee’s preferred hospital for treatment since he became the defence minister in 2004.
President Ram Nath Kovind spoke to his daughter, Congress leader Sharmistha Mukherjee, and inquired about the health of her father. Kovind and many Indian leaders wished him a speedy recovery.
Mukherjee underwent an angioplasty – a procedure to open blocked or narrowed coronary arteries – at the same hospital in 2014. He had decided not to contest the 2017 presidential elections citing “advanced age and failing health.”
Defence minister Rajnath Singh visited the R&R Hospital and enquired about the former president’s health.
While west Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee expressed concern about Mukherjee’s health and wished him well, senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, Union minister Piyush Goel and many others wished Mukherjee a speedy recovery.
Minister of railways Piyush Goyal tweeted, “I pray for the well being and speedy recovery of Shri Pranab Mukherjee. I am confident he will be successful in recovering from the virus quickly. Wishing him strength and good health.”
“Please take care sir. We are praying for your speedy recovery and good health @CitiznMukherjee,” tweeted Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.
Abhijeet Mukherjee, a Congress leader and the former president’s son, tweeted, “I wish my father a speedy recovery! I appeal to all my countrymen to pray for his speedy recovery & good health.” Several leaders from across the political spectrum also wished Mukherjee an early recovery.
Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot tweeted, “I have come to know former President of India Sh. Pranab Mukherjee has tested positive for Covid-19...concerned about his health. Wish him a speedy recovery.”
Last year, Mukherjee was awarded the Bharat Ratna, the country’s highest civilian award.