The pandemic has reached the political elites around the world, as their top aides, ministers, and even spouses test positive for the virus
As coronavirus is shaping up to be an enormous stress test for governments around the world, many leaders and officials are themselves falling prey to the virus, undermining global efforts to address the crisis.
Among all the people infected by Covid-19 so far, the politicians appear to have been affected more than others. Scores of national and local leaders around the world announced that they contracted the virus.
"Politicians are in contact with many people, probably more than the average person. They are always shaking hands and always meeting people," Francois Balloux, a professor of computational systems biology at University College London says.
The coronavirus knows no boundaries and continent. From Tehran to Washington, Paris to Brasília, cabinet ministers, lawmakers, military leaders, senior policymakers, and health officials have been infected with the virus. Dozens have also gone into isolation.
Iran has been one of the hardest-hit countries. On a long list of its infected officials are: two vice-presidents, three cabinet officials, nine percent of the members of parliament, the director of emergency medical services, the chief of the crisis-management organisation, senior Revolutionary Guard officers, and prominent clerics.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau put himself in isolation after his wife tested positive, and several other senior officials from Britain to Australia to Brazil were confirmed to be infected.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on March 13 announced that he tested negative after one of his aides tested positive.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel went into self-quarantine, having come into contact with a doctor who tested positive for Covid-19. But she later tested negative.
Rand Paul became the first US senator to test positive for the coronavirus. On March 18, Florida Republican Representative Mario Diaz-Balart announced that he tested positive for the coronavirus, becoming the first member of the US Congress to contract Covid-19.
Australian Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton was found to have Covid-19 after being admitted to a hospital. He had recently returned from Washington, where he met with US Attorney General William Barr, Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump, and other White House officials.
In Europe, senior politicians in France, the UK, Spain, and Italy are among those infected.
European Union's chief negotiator for Brexit, Michel Barnier, announced via a video message from his home in France that he had Covid-19 respiratory illness.
The President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli, opted to self-quarantine after he returned from Italy.
In France, President Emmanuel Macron cut back face-to-face meetings after his Minister of Culture, Franck Riester, fell ill with the disease on March 9.
Riester had been at the National Assembly where five people were found to have the virus.
The British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Friday that he had tested positive for coronavirus after showing symptoms. Johnson said he will continue to head the government despite the self-isolation.
Nadine Dorries, Britain's health minister, also tested positive for the virus. She attended a reception with Johnson and his fiancé, Carrie Symonds, in Downing Street last week.
The next in line to the British throne, Prince Charles tested positive for the coronavirus on March 25. Charles is now self-isolating with his wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall in Scotland.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez's wife Begoña Gómez tested positive for the coronavirus and is now in quarantine with her husband. The Spanish Equality Minister Irene Montero was the first of Spain's cabinet to test positive for the coronavirus and has been quarantined along with her partner Pablo Iglesias, deputy prime minister, and leader of the Podemos party.
Javier Ortega Smith, the secretary-general of the far-right Vox party, tested positive on March 10, causing the lower house of the Spanish parliament to be suspended. Photographs captured Ortega greeting dozens of supporters with handshakes, hugs, and kisses.
In Italy, which has witnessed one of the highest numbers of deaths and cases, the head of the Italian Democratic Party Nicola Zingaretti became the first leading politician to test positive for the virus.
In Poland, General Jarosław Mika also went into isolation after he came down with the coronavirus. He had just returned from a military conference in Germany.
Israel's ambassador to Germany, Jeremy Issacharoff tested positive for the coronavirus and was reported to have contracted the virus after a meeting with a deputy from the German legislature.
The United Nations World Food Program Executive Director David Beasley announced on March 19 that he had tested positive for the coronavirus, five days after he began exhibiting symptoms and self-quarantined himself.