Nepal’s tourism minister Yogesh Bhattarai on Saturday announced that he tested positive for coronavirus, eight months after he declared the country free from COVID-19 to encourage tourism.

The 54-year-old politician is the first minister in the Cabinet of Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli to get the deadly infection. 

In a Facebook post on Saturday Bhattarai wrote, “Last Monday, while testing for Corona, the report came negative. At that time I also participated in some programs outside Kathmandu.” 

“I felt a little fever after returning to my residence yesterday Friday evening. I have just received information that the report has been positive while testing for Corona again on Saturday,” he added.

Bhattarai, who holds the culture and aviation portfolios, said that he has only experienced a “little fever” until now.

“I request all the people who have come in contact with me for a few days to be alert and if you see any problem, test corona and be sure. I am sorry for any inconvenience I may have caused to anyone. Is there any option other than to be careful and face it when it comes to you?” he concluded.

In February, the minister said that the world should be informed about the fact that Nepal is free from the dark shadow of coronavirus.

Besides him, Nepal’s education minister Giriraj Mani Pokharel also tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday, becoming the second cabinet minister to have contracted the disease.