KAMPALA, Uganda

The Ugandan second deputy prime minister succumbed to COVID-19 on Saturday, the East African country’s president confirmed.

Addressing a rally in the city of Hoima yesterday, Yoweri Museveni said Ali Kirunda Kivejinja breathed his last at the Mulago National Referral Hospital in the capital Kampala, where he was under treatment for over a month after testing positive for the novel disease.

Medical sources at the treatment facility said the deputy premier spent nearly 30 days in intensive care.

He is the fourth parliamentarian to have died of coronavirus in Uganda in recent weeks. Lawmaker Robina Ssentongo from the town of Kyotera, Rehema Watongola from Kamuli municipality and Faith Alupo from Palissa also passed away after contracting the infection.

Uganda is among the African countries worst hit by the pandemic. With 30,702 confirmed cases and 230 related deaths, there are fears that Christmas and New Year festivities, and the ongoing campaign rallies for the Jan. 14 presidential election could lead to an unprecedented spike in numbers.

Kivejinja was one of the longest serving ministers in Uganda government, and arguably the country’s most decorated minister. He served in more than 10 ministerial positions including information, transport, and foreign affairs.

Lockdown restrictions in the nation of 43 million were imposed in March, and a gradual reopening began in September. A nighttime 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew, however, is still in place. Wearing a mask is mandatory for everyone in public spaces.

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