FILE PHOTO: Ivory Coast Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly wearing a protective face mask speaks during his visit at the first reception center built to hold coronavirus disease screening tests, amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Abidjan, Ivory Coast April 15, 2020. REUTERS/Luc Gnago/File Photo
May 3, 2020
ABIDJAN (Reuters) – Ivory Coast’s Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly, who is the ruling party’s candidate in October’s presidential election, was evacuated on Saturday to France for medical checks, the presidency said.
The brief statement from the presidency on Sunday provided no additional details about Gon Coulibaly’s health status. Gon Coulibaly, 61, self-isolated in late March because of possible exposure to the coronavirus but did not test positive.
Defence Minister Hamed Bakayoko, who recovered from the coronavirus last month, will serve as interim prime minister in Gon Coulibaly’s absence, the statement said.
Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara designated Gon Coulibaly in March as the ruling RHDP party’s candidate for the presidential election after ruling out seeking a third term himself.
Ivory Coast has recorded more than 1,300 cases of the coronavirus, one of the highest totals in West Africa, and 15 deaths.
(Reporting by Ange Aboa; Writing by Aaron Ross; Editing by Frances Kerry)