14:34 GMT25 November 2020
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    Lives of millions around the world have been profoundly affected by the Covid-19 virus and political leaders are no exception. Whether it is a precautionary vaccine or a “disinfection tunnel,” here is how heads of state have been dealing with the pandemic.

    The spread of COVID-19 saw many government leaders turn from attending meetings in person to governing through phone calls and video conferences. Some were even briefly taken down by the virus, leaving their constituents worried about the political stability in the country.

    Boris Johnson

    Among those who faced COVID-19 and ended up in the hospital was the UK Prime Minister. Despite the government assurances that Johnson was in charge and “leading,” it appeared that he was in fact not doing it. Instead, he was being treated at St. Thomas’ Hospital in London with COVID-19 symptoms.

    After being unwell for about three weeks, Johnson returned to work end of April.

    At the time of his illness, theories flourished on social media as to whether Johnson was in fact sick or whether it was a PR stunt by Downing Street.

    Johnson’s swift recovery surprised the US President Donald Trump, who spoke to the UK PM on the phone following his return to work and said that Johnson is “doing great.”

    Donald Trump

    The US president took the matter into his own hands, as he took the drug taking hydroxychloroquine to ward off the virus, even though it has not been vetted as safe by the scientific community. Taking hydroxychloroquine is a personal decision for someone to make, US President Donald Trump said

    U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak response press briefing in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., May 11, 2020.
    © REUTERS / Kevin Lamarque
    U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak response press briefing in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., May 11, 2020.

    In May, he offered a confusing explanation of his regimen:

    "I'm taking it for about a week and a half now and I'm still here, I'm still here. I tested very positively in another sense. I tested positively toward negative. I tested perfectly this morning, meaning I tested negative."

    The virus scare spread through the White House earlier in April as staff and officials had to take coronavirus tests to eliminate the risk for themselves and the president.  

    Angela Merkel

    The German Chancellor took pre-emptive measures in the light of the virus spread, as she received end of March a precautionary vaccine against pneumococcus, a pneumonia-causing bacteria.

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends the weekly cabinet meeting, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Berlin, Germany, 13 May 2020.
    © REUTERS / POOL
    German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends the weekly cabinet meeting, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Berlin, Germany, 13 May 2020.

    It turned out that the doctor who gave Merkel the vaccine later tested positive for coronavirus, which directly affected the German leader. Merkel had to self-isolate for two weeks and work from home. She was reported to undergo regular tests following the news of her being close to someone with COVID-19.

    Vladimir Putin

    The Russian president’s Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said earlier in April that those who meet with Vladimir Putin undergo COVID-19 testing to ensure they are not carriers of the virus.

    Anyone who visits Putin at his residence outside Moscow, now goes through a so-called “disinfection tunnel,” which essentially is an installation with a passage, where individuals get sprayed by a disinfectant.

    Peskov added that the president still carried on with some face-to-face meetings but sticks to the social distancing rules during the encounters.

    Cyril Ramaphosa

    The South African president on the other hand appears to have broken the rules, as he was filmed standing next to and talking with two women who approached him in the street. The video shows Cyril Ramaphosa taking a picture with the women and not observing the two-metre rule.

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