“Following the appearance of initial symptoms of Covid-19, I got myself tested and the report is positive. My health is fine but on the advice of doctors I am getting admitted to hospital. I request all those who came in contact with me in the past few days to isolate themselves and get tested,” Shah posted on Twitter around 5.30 pm.
Besides Shah, Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa and Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit also tested positive for the virus on Sunday. “I have tested positive for coronavirus. Whilst I am fine, I am being hospitalised as a precaution on the recommendation of doctors. I request those who have come in contact with me recently to be observant and exercise self quarantine,” Yediyurappa tweeted late on Sunday evening.
Sources said the home minister has been admitted to Medanta Hospital in Gurgaon.
Shah has been visiting hospitals and Covid-19 centres in Delhi. He is the first member of the Union Cabinet to test positive for the disease.
The home minister attended an important meeting of the Cabinet last Wednesday at which Prime Minister Narendra Modi, HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal, and several other top ministers were present. Following the meeting, the government announced the new National Education Policy.
A source who confirmed Shah’s presence at the meeting said: “Social distancing was strictly followed along with wearing of masks. A strict protocol has been followed at the PM’s residence over the last few months. Temperature checks, Aarogya Setu checks, no use of internal cars to ferry people, are some of the measures adopted. Most physical meetings are avoided and video conferences are preferred instead.”
Shah was also reported to be an invitee to the August 5 Bhumi Pujan ceremony for the Ram Temple in Ayodhya. Sources close to him, however, said that the event was not yet in his itinerary.
Shah has had a busy week, with meetings at North Block and at his residence. He has also attended functions elsewhere.
At least two BJP leaders who met him during this week said on Sunday that they were isolating themselves. Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Babul Supriyo posted on Twitter: “I had met Hon’ble HM Shri @AmitShah ji day before in the evening. I am advised by doctors to confine myself, away from my family members, for the next few days with a test to be done soon. Shall abide with all precautionary measures as per Rules and Protocol.”
Rajya Sabha MP and president of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, who had attended an ICCR fuction with Shah on Saturday, said he had quarantined himself at home. “I am consulting the doctor and will go according to the doctor’s advice. If I am asked to do the test, I will go for it. Right now I will be in home quarantine,” Sahasrabuddhe told The Indian Express.
Among others whom Shah has met over the past few days are Coal and Mines Minister Prahlad Joshi, West Bengal BJP in-charge Kailash Vijayvargiya, Haryana BJP chief O P Dhankar, and Gujarat BJP chief C R Patil.
On Saturday, Shah attended a webinar on the 100th death anniversary of Bal Gangadhar Tilak, where he shared the dais with Sahasrabuddhe, Dileep Tilak of Tilak Maharashtra Vidyapeeth, Maharashtra MLA Mukta Tilak, and the chairman of Deccan Education Society, Pune, Sharad Kunte.
Sources said Vijayvargiya had met with Shah on Tuesday to discuss issues related to West Bengal. The home minister is also learnt to have met officials including Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla at North block during the week.
On July 23, Shah launched a tree plantation campaign of the Ministry of Coal in the presence of Union Minister of Coal, Mines and Parliamentary Affairs Prahlad Joshi at his residence. On the same day, he met the party’s new Gujarat chief Patil. He met the Haryana chief Dhankar the following day.
Also on July 24, Shah virtually distributed 100 spinning wheels among potters in his constituency Gandhinagar. This was done in the physical presence of Khadi and Village Industries Commission chairman VK Saxena.
Politicians across party lines wished Shah a speedy recovery. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted: “Wishing Mr Amit Shah a speedy recovery.”
In a statement issued to the media, former finance minister P Chidambaram said, “It is distressing that the Home Minister has tested positive for Covid-19. I wish him a speedy recovery and good health.”
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Twitter: “Heard about Union Home Minister Shri @AmitShah ji being tested positive for #Covid-19. Wishing him a speedy recovery. My prayers are with him and his family.”
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejrial also wished Shah a speedy recovery.
Shah has been leading the effort to contain the outbreak in Delhi. He has held a series of meetings to draw up a Covid-19 containment plan for the city, and on June 15 made a surprise visit to LNJP Hospital to take stock of facilities in the Covid ward. He also visited the 10,000-bed Covid care centre at Chhattarpur on June 27 and the DRDO facility with 250 ICU beds near IGI Airport on July 5.