Health Minister Zahid Malik has dismissed rumours that he has contracted coronavirus infection, fuelled by his lack of media appearances over the last few days.
The minister said he is self-isolating at home just like everybody else, adding that he got tested for the infection and the results came back negative.
He made the remarks during a virtual media briefing conducted by the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research to update the public on the latest developments regarding the coronavirus outbreak on Sunday, reports bdnews24.com.
During the briefing, a reporter asked Zahid if any of the health ministry officials was suffering from the coronavirus but the minister did not provide a specific answer to the question.
“I don’t know what you've heard. The health ministry is a big office with many visitors. Some doctors and outsiders visit the ministry too. Therefore, it is possible for one of them to be infected.”
On Mar 26, Md Habibur Rahman Khan, additional secretary to the health ministry, denied media reports stating top officials in the ministry were ordered to go into quarantine as one of the minister's aides had purportedly got infected.
“The minister’s PS, PRO or any other official for that matter is not infected with the coronavirus. We don’t have any such information,” he told bdnews24.com.
The absence of the health minister in the media over the past few days had been the subject of much conjecture with many netizens speculating if he was under 'home quarantine'.
“I am continuing my work from home. I have tested for the coronavirus and I’m not infected,” Zahid said.
“It’s not that I'm in quarantine as a result of being infected but rather, I’m staying home like others.”
An aide to the health minister lives in Mirpur’s Tolarbag where two elderly people died from the coronavirus. The neighbourhood subsequently went under lockdown and the news of top officials in the health ministry getting quarantined followed.