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King eSwatini says he had COVID-19 recovered after Taiwan shipped drugs




TAIPEI (Reuters) – King eSwatinis Mswati III said he was cured of COVID-19 after Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen sent antiviral drugs to help him.

King Mswati III of Swaziland expects to address those present during the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN Headquarters in New York, September 29, 2015. REUTERS / Carlo Allegri / File Photo

The small country of South Africa, an absolute monarchy formerly known as Swaziland, is Taiwan that remains the only diplomatic ally on the continent, and Taipei has provided large amounts of economic and other aid.

In a speech Friday, the king said as the country awaited the arrival of vaccines, there was an antiviral drug that could be used to treat the disease, which he did not name by name.

He said he had come out positive for two days in the first week of January but was now negative.

“I am grateful to the President of the Republic of China in Taiwan for sending through this medicine to treat me,” he said, using the island’s official name in a speech posted on the official eSwatini government Twitter account.

Taiwan Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou said that after hearing that the king was infected, Tsai arranged medical assistance for him.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is pleased to hear about the successful recovery of eSwatini kings under the joint care of Taiwanese and eSwatini medical staff, she said.

The king could have referred to the remedivir of Gilead Sciences Incs antiviral drugs, which was conditionally approved in Europe in July for the treatment of COVID-19 in adults and adolescents with pneumonia requiring oxygen support.

Taiwan also temporarily approved its use last year.

Using the slogan that Taiwan can help, the government has been eager to show its help to other countries during the pandemic, donating face masks and other accessories.

China claims Taiwan as its territory without any right to state-to-state ties. Only 14 countries officially recognize the island government.

eSwatini has recorded almost 17,000 coronavirus infections and 644 deaths from COVID-19.

Prime Minister Ambrose Dlamini died at a South African hospital in December after testing positive for COVID-19.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Edited by William Mallard

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