DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Kuwait’s 91-year-old ruler was admitted to the hospital Saturday for a medical checkup and the country’s crown prince temporarily took some of his powers in his absence, the oil-rich nation’s state-run news agency reported.
Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah was in “good health,” the KUNA news agency said, citing a statement from the country’s royal court minister.
The brief report did not elaborate. A later statement said Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al Ahmad Al Sabah had assumed some of Sheikh Sabah’s powers temporarily, without explaining why that was necessary.
However, the visit comes as the tiny nation fights the coronavirus pandemic, which has seen over 58,000 cases and 400 deaths in the country of 4.1 million. Its Health Ministry says over 49,000 people have recovered from the virus and the COVID-19 illness it causes.
In August 2019, Kuwait acknowledged the emir suffered an unspecified medical “setback” that required him to be hospitalized. That came after visiting Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif wrote on Twitter that he was “praying for Emir’s speedy recovery,” without elaborating.
Sheikh Sabah has ruled Kuwait since January 2006. He’s pushed for diplomacy to solve regional issues, such as the ongoing boycott of Qatar by four Arab nations, and hosted major donor conferences for war-torn nations like Iraq and Syria.