Algeria president makes first appearance since hospitalisation due to COVID-19

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Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune at a press conference in Algiers on December 13, 2019. (Photo by Billal Bensalem/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune on Sunday said he was recovering well from COVID-19 and will return to the country soon.

Tebboune made the comments in his first televised appearance since he was hospitalised in Germany nearly two months ago. The video was also shared on Tebboune’s Twitter account.

FILE PHOTO: Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune at a press conference in Algiers. (Photo by Billal Bensalem/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

“Thanks to God… I have started on the road to recovery,” Tebboune said

“It may take two or three weeks but, God willing, I will recover all my bodily strength.”

The 75-year-old’s appearance, which came as he marked a year in office, will go a long way in calming down the nation which had begun becoming increasingly anxious as the head of state had not been seen at all since his evacuation to Germany.

Ambiguous statements by the government compounded the growing mystery surrounding Tebboune, his whereabouts and his health. The clinic where he was treated was never made public.

Tebboune was initially admitted to a military hospital in Algiers in late October before he was transferred to Germany. Prior to that, the 75-year-old had “voluntarily” gone into self-isolation for five days amid reports several officials in the presidency and government had contracted the COVID-19 disease.

The absence of Tebboune echoed that of his predecessor, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who flew for treatment in France following a stroke in 2013 and later to Switzerland for numerous medical check-ups, with a lot of speculation and little information on his whereabouts or health.

Prime Minister Abdelaziz Djerad has been in charge in Tebboune’s absence, even as the North African country grapples with a struggling economy weighed down by the coronavirus pandemic and a raft of other issues.

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