Former PM Thaksin Diagnosed With Coronavirus in Dubai

A screencap of Thaksin Shinawatra taken from his Facebook video in July 2016.

BANGKOK — Self-exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his family were sent to hospital for contracting coronavirus, his aides said Friday.

Thaksin, who is residing in the United Arab Emirates, is receiving the treatment at a hospital in the city of Dubai, according to the aides. Members of his family who live in the same mansion in Dubai were also reportedly infected, including his elder sister Yaowapha Shinawatra, a chauffeur, and a secretary. 

Former PM Yingluck Shinawatra, a younger sister of Thaksin, is said to be the sole resident who was unaffected. 

It is not immediately clear when and how the 71-year-old billionaire, who headed the Thai government from 2001 until he was toppled in a 2006 coup, caught the coronavirus. 

Thaksin fled Thailand in 2008 just before a court convicted him of corruption during his tenure. The tycoon-turned-politician insisted the verdict was politically motivated. 

Despite his exile, Thaksin continued to dominate Thai politics through parties allied to his political dynasty. His sister, Yingluck, governed Thailand through the pro-Thaksin party until a court ousted her in 2014, followed by a military coup. 

He’s the second high-profile politician to test positive for the coronavirus on Friday. Hours earlier, U.S. President Donald Trump also said he and his wife were infected with the virus.