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A close relative of former People’s Partnership minister Jack Warner last evening confirmed that he had been hospitalised for the treatment of COVID-19.

“He is coping. He had a few issues of concern prior to the COVID diagnosis but he is a fighter,” the relative said, after social media reports first circulated yesterday that Warner had died before suggesting he was hospitalised on Tuesday for COVID-19.

The development came after Warner, 77, had said last Monday he had been tested for COVID-19 at a private institution after two of his employees tested positive recently. Two days later, he said that he’d spent a nerve-wracking 48 hours awaiting the test results but these showed he was negative. He said his wife Maureen, driver and others close to him had also tested for the virus and were all negative. He’d told the T&T Guardian that he would have still self-quarantine for seven days after the tests.

But yesterday, several social media reports alleged that Warner had “died” and it was later reported that he had been hospitalised with the virus.

Sports fraternity sources stated yesterday that following Warner’s first COVID test, he continued to feel unwell and went back for a second test at a private institution in West Trinidad on Tuesday – and that result proved positive. The sources also said that he’s since been hospitalised and is being treated for the virus.

Health Ministry officials didn’t answer calls on the issue last night, including on whether Warner, who unsuccessfully ran for the Lopinot/Bor Air West seat in the August 10 General Election, is now at a public health care facility.

Warner’s communications manager Michelle Borde-Harvey didn’t comment on the reports but told the T&T Guardian that Warner is resting comfortably.

“He isn’t saying anything to media right now but when he’s ready he will speak,” Borde-Harvey said.

Warner didn’t reply to calls or text messages yesterday.

Also contacted yesterday about the reports and his condition, his wife Maureen, speaking from their home, said, “I’m not speaking to any newspaper.”

Meanwhile, Independent Liberal Party (ILP) leader Rekha Ramjit said, “This is a private matter and I’m not about to breach any private confidence. If he can’t be reached, then he can’t be reached. His family will speak.

“If he can’t be reached, he can’t be reached or doesn’t want to be reached. I’m not denying or confirming any situation with Mr Warner. He is a private individual entitled to his privacy. If and when the time is right and if need be, his family will let the media what is happening. At this time, a person’s health is their private business and I won’t deny or confirm any rumours flying around the country.”

Yesterday, the UNC’s Devant Maharaj said he had spoken to the former FIFA vice president and Works and Transport minister last Sunday and Warner had told him he’d taken a COVID test last week and was cleared, as was his wife, driver and others.

The first politician to contract the virus was former UNC MP Dr Tim Gopeesingh, who was also being treated for the virus recently and had told the T&T Guardian last week that he was on the mend.

The country recorded a 28th COVID death yesterday and now has 1,201 active cases.