Mahathir in hospital with coronavirus
Published: Aug 31, 2022 09:12 PM
Former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, 97, has tested positive for ­COVID-19 and has been hospitalized for observation, his office said on Wednesday.

The nonagenarian, who served for more than two decades as prime minister, has a history of heart problems. He has had heart attacks and bypass surgeries.

"Mahathir has been admitted to the National Heart Institute for observation for the next few days as advised by the medical team," his office said in a statement.

"Mahathir has only mild symptoms of the COVID infection," an aide said on condition of anonymity. 

Mahathir has received at least three doses of the ­COVID-19 vaccine, with the last known shot in November 2021, according to earlier comments made by him and Malaysian government officials.

Mahathir underwent an elective medical procedure in January and was readmitted to the hospital later that month for treatment.

Mahathir and the National Heart Institute did not say at the time what procedure the former leader had undergone, only saying that he had been admitted to the cardiac care unit at the hospital.

Mahathir is one of the Southeast Asian country's dominant political figures, having served twice as prime minister for a total of 24 years.

He was leader from 1981 to 2003, then returned to power in 2018 at the age of 92, heading a reformist coalition. But that administration collapsed in 2020 due to infighting.