Former Libyan Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril died on April 5 from serious health complications after contracting the novel coronavirus.
Jibril was the first interim prime-minister of Libya during and after the fall of dictator Muammar al-Qaddafi. Widely considered as an optimist and enthusiastic secular politician, Jibril transitioned from being part of the Gadaffi-regime to taking a leading role in the post-dictatorship transition.
The former PM blamed the failure to form a stable government on “political Islam.” He resigned after the fall of Sirte, which he recognized as the official end of hostilities. Jibril came close to becoming the elected prime minister of the country but was ultimately defeated by Mustafa Abushagur after a second ballot.
Jibril was diagnosed with COVID-19 virus on March 26. He died in Egypt after having been quarantined in Cairo.
The Libyan politician was one of a number of politicians who have contracted the virus. In the US, five members of Congress, one senator, and at least 29 State politicians have been diagnosed with the virus.
Australia’s Home Affairs minister and two senators have contracted the virus.
Brazil’s controversial president Jair Bolsanaro’s inner circles have not been spared either. Fabio Wajngarten, the president’s press secretary tested positive along with the country’s security advisor, the head of Brazil’s senate, and the Brazilian Mines and Energy minister.
In Africa, several politicians have become ill with respiratory complications linked to the virus. In Burkina Faso, four members of the government have contracted the virus, including the minister of mines, the minister of education and the Interior minister. Nigeria’s presidential chief of staff and the governor of Bauchi state have confirmed infections.
Canada’s first lady, Sophie Trudeau was diagnosed after returning from a trip to Great Britain where several members of the elite have become infected. The UK now counts Prince Charles, Britain’s health secretary and its health minister as high-profile cases with the country’s prime minister in intensive care after his infection requiring hospitalization.
In Europe, the French minister of culture and the secretary of state have reportedly been infected and several members of the National Assembly have also tested positive. Germany saw one of the contenders to lead the Christian Democratic Union party contract the virus, while the EU’s Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier is suffering from COVID-19 related complications.
Europe’s worst-hit countries, Italy and Spain have reported several high-profile infections. Italy’s leader of the Italian Democratic Party and a senior health expert have reported infections and the mayor of Cene in Lombardy died of COVID-19 complications. The wife of the Spanish prime minister, the country’s equality minister, the secretary-general of Vox party and several Catalonian politicians have all contracted the virus.
By far the worst hit national elite is that of Iran, with 24 infected members of parliament alone. Two politicians have died of their complications already and a worrying number of people working on the coronavirus-response have fallen ill.
As Libyan supporters of Mahmoud Jibril mourn, the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Across the world, the virus has shown no regard for class or status. Even early detection and the best possible healthcare has not been able to protect the political elite.
New York State’s Andrew Cuomo, who has contracted the virus himself, called the virus the “great equalizer,” many people are worried about the impact of the virus on those without the support structures these politicians have been able to benefit from.