BOGOTA – Former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, who governed from 2002-2010, reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 just hours after the country’s Supreme Court ordered him to submit to house arrest for alleged procedural fraud in a court case and bribing witnesses, sources within the Democratic Center party that he founded told EFE on Wednesday.
A medical team visited the ex-president on Wednesday morning at his ranch in the Caribbean province of Cordoba, where Uribe is quarantined as directed by the government to limit the spread of the coronavirus and where presumably he will remain under house arrest.
It is not yet clear whether the health personnel who visited him did so to perform a COVID-19 test on him or to deliver the result of a test to him.
According to local media, the 68-year-old former leader has been having a sore throat but otherwise appears to be in good health.
Uribe’s ranch is located near Monteria, the capital of Cordoba province, one of the regions in Colombia hardest hit by the pandemic in recent weeks.
According to the National Institute of Health, there have been 4,688 positive coronavirus cases in Monteria and 431 people have died, a mortality rate of 9.19 percent.
By comparison, nationwide, Colombia has confirmed 334,979 coronavirus cases and the death toll so far stands at 11,315, a mortality rate of 3.38 percent.
On April 6, Uribe said that he had undergone a COVID-19 test that came back negative.
“We’re relieved. We’re not infected. I ask God to protect us and we will continue contributing to halting the pandemic. Many thanks to so many citizens for their noble concern,” he said at the time.
On Tuesday, the high court ordered Uribe to remain under house arrest, given that it considers there to be a risk that he may attempt to obstruct justice in the proceedings against him for alleged fraud in a court case and witness tampering.
The case that landed Uribe under house arrest was launched in 2012 when he sued a senator of the leftist Alternative Democratic Pole (PDA) party, Ivan Cepeda, who at the time was preparing a complaint against him in Congress for his alleged links to the paramilitaries.
The case against Cepeda flipped by 180 degrees when Supreme Court Justice Jose Luis Barcelo, who was overseeing the case, not only shelved it but opened an investigation of Uribe himself for alleged witness tampering.