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MQM founder Altaf Hussain moved to ICU after testing positive for coronavirus

LONDON: MQM-London boss Altaf Hussain has been shifted to the intensive care unit (ICU) of the Chipping Barnet-based Barnet Hospital after he tested positive for COVID-19 a few weeks ago.

During a visit to the hospital on Monday, staff confirmed to The News that the MQM leader is in their COVID-19 ward under intensive care. No visitors — friend or family alike — were allowed to meet him in line with the coronavirus pandemic rules.

In an audio message distributed Sunday night, the MQM-L leader appealed, in a shaken voice, to his followers to pray for him after announcing that he was in the ICU.

“I have been in the ICU in hospital for the last 20 days. It is due to your [supporters’] prayers that I have been able to record this message on this day of Saturday, Jan 30, 2021,” the former Karachi strongman said.

“May Allah protect everyone from this disease, COVID-19,” Hussain added said, appealing to listeners to “take precautions and help each other”.

A source in the MQM-L said that around three weeks ago the party chief had fallen ill.

With a long history of several ailments due to obesity and a reportedly unhealthy lifestyle, Hussain was advised to self-isolate at home; however, when his condition deteriorated, he had to be taken to the hospital in an emergency.

The MQM-L boss was put on the ventilator for about five days before he started showing signs of recovery.

On January 23, the MQM-L said in a statement that the party founder was ill and taking a break from politics. After a check-up, doctors had advised him to rest and suspend his political activities, it added.

The statement issued on Tuesday had said that Hussain was recovering fast and his situation had progressed well. The party chief had thanked his supporters for praying for him according to the statement.

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