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Eswatini king recovers from COVID-19 with drug sent by Taiwan

King Mswati III thanks President Tsai Ing-wen for gifting antiviral medication

King Mswati III of Eswatini and Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen. 

King Mswati III of Eswatini and Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The king of Eswatini said Friday (Feb. 19) that he has recovered from COVID-19 after taking an antiviral drug sent by the Taiwan government.

During an address to parliament, King Mswati III thanked Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) for gifting the medication to treat his infection. Without naming what the drug was, he noted the government of Eswatini would "immediately" obtain it for the rest of the country.

The king revealed that he had tested positive for the coronavirus during the first week of January. He said the drug, which was administered through a drip, had allowed him to recover before he had the chance to announce his hospitalization.

He described the drug as a "remarkable success" and said that it should be used to treat COVID patients in Eswatini. He also pointed out the antiviral drug would buy the country time in its battle against the pandemic before vaccines arrive, reported France 24.

Speaking at a press conference Saturday afternoon (Feb. 20), Taiwan's Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) confirmed the news but declined to disclose the name of the drug. He said that several experts from Taipei Medical University were sent to Eswatini last year to share their anti-epidemic experiences with local public health workers.

Since the global outbreak began, the southern African country has recorded over 16,700 infections and 640 deaths for a population of 1.2 million. Eswatini is Taiwan's only official diplomatic ally in Africa.