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Days After Kumbh Visit, Nepal's Former Royal Couple Admitted to Hospital for Covid-19 Treatment

Nepal's former King Gyanendra Shah (PTI)

Nepal's former King Gyanendra Shah (PTI)

The couple had recently returned from India where they had taken a holy dip at Haridwar's Har Ki Pauri during the Maha Kumbh.

Nepal’s former King Gyanendra Shah and Queen Komal Shah on Saturday have been admitted to a hospital here for treatment of coronavirus, days after they were tested positive for the viral infection on their return from India after participating in the Maha Kumbh at Haridwar. The 73-year-old former King and 70-year-old former Queen were diagnosed with the disease on April 20.

The former royal couple and their daughter Prerana Singh have been admitted to the Norvic International Hospital for treatment of COVID-19, the hospital officials said. Shah’s aide and former press secretary of the Narayanhiti palace, Faniraj Pathak, also confirmed that the former monarch has been admitted to the hospital.

“They (the couple and their daughter) don’t have any health complications and their condition is stable for now, said Somnath Bastola, the chief of the hospital’s Communications and Public Relations Department. The couple had recently returned from India where they had taken a holy dip at Haridwar’s Har Ki Pauri during the Maha Kumbh — a religious congregation of Hindu seers and devotees, Nepal’s Health Ministry had said.

According to a report in the Himalayan Times, hundreds of people had gathered at the airport in Kathmandu to welcome the former king and queen during their arrival back home. As of Saturday, the Himalayan nation has reported a total of 297,087 coronavirus cases and 3,136 deaths. Of the total infections, 16,828 cases are currently active, the health ministry said.

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Shah was crowned as the king of Nepal in 2001 after his elder brother Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev and his family were killed in a massacre at the Royal Palace. An investigation blamed Birendra’s son Dipendra, who was among the dead, for the massacre. Shah stepped down in 2008, after a popular revolt forced him to abdicate, and the centuries-old monarchy was abolished, turning the country into a republic by the Constituent Assembly.

He became deeply unpopular when he seized direct control of the nation in 2005, claiming mainstream parties had failed to tackle the deadly Maoist insurgency. He has kept a low-profile and has occasionally made public appearances. In normal circumstances, the Maha Kumbh is held for nearly four months. Its last edition was held in Haridwar from January 14 to April 28 in 2010.

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